San Diego--This week, security officers, faith leaders, labor unions and community supporters attended the County Board of Supervisors meeting to highlight concerns within the local security industry.
As the city’s front-line responders, officers are often the first to arrive when emergencies happen. They work together with fire departments, law enforcement and medical teams to create a chain of public safety and provide critical data to personnel when they arrive on a scene.
At the mornings Board meeting, security officers spoke about the crisis in the security industry and the drastic need to lower workplace turnover and increase training and preparedness to keep the city’s’ courts, libraries, parks and businesses safe and secure.
Officers pointed to an area-wide survey conducted in which almost 40% of security officers who participated said they felt their company does not provide them with adequate training to fulfill their workplace duties.
Security officers pointed to the high turnover--when contractors pay substandard wages and benefits, officers leave the industry for better paying jobs with more training. When that happens, they take their experience and knowledge with them and leave a gaping hole in the security system.
Faith leaders mentioned that when contractors pay barely above the minimum wage, security officers, their families and the communities they reside in, continue to struggle.
Speakers pointed to the city-wide report which found more than 60% of security officers surveyed said they struggled to pay for their housing on the wages they are paid0--with more than 48% reporting being worried about their living conditions, including the possibility of becoming homeless.
US Security Associates (USSA), a security contractor with business in San Diego, was highlighted as a company who is currently part of the problem.
US Security is under scrutiny for allegations and settlements of wage theft, employee harassment and discrimination cases–including gender, racial and disability discrimination cases with the security officers they employ.
The group urged the Board to only hire responsible security contractors—companies who work to lower turnover, increase training, pay and benefits and who respect workers rights.
At the meeting, the Board confirmed they were listening and assured the group that their concerns were taken into account.
Stand for Security Campaign—Right now hundreds of security officers in San Diego are forming their union in an effort to improve workplace conditions, lower turnover, increase pay and benefits and raise industry standards for the safety of all.