Christopher Rhudy loves to help people. He regularly volunteers his time to organizations that assist in emergency and crisis situations. And for the last ten years he has worked as a Security Officer protecting his hometown of San Diego.
In that time, Christopher has worked for many different security contractors and shared thoughts on how the industry can improve. “We need to raise the standards in our industry. We need better training. We deserve respect. When you pay people a wage that says you don’t care about them, it’s hard to keep up morale.”
Officer Rhudy used to work for US Security Associates--a company who just this month saw its responsibility rating plummet to the lowest possible level—RED. This is under SEIU’s Responsible Contractor Guide (RCG) and it indicates “the company fails to follow responsible contractor practices.”
USSA has a long and documented track record of concerning behaviors including a history of wage theft allegations and settlements with employees. One California statewide case settled in 2018 for over $21 million in damages for back wages and penalties.
“When I worked for USSA, it was hard to live on what they paid. You can’t survive in San Diego on $11.50 an hour. I didn’t eat out and I struggled to pay rent,” he says. “You get stuck. You just work and try not to drown in bills and debt.”
He talks about the daily struggles many security officers face regarding healthcare too. “My ‘healthcare plan’ is to be careful. If I do get sick I go to a clinic where they have a sliding scale. But when I go to the gym or go do anything, I try not to push myself. I can’t afford to get injured,” he says.
To improve living conditions for his fellow security officers, Officer Rhudy is forming a union with 1,000 officers in the area. “The more we work together to improve our lives, the safer our communities will be. When we have respect, a voice on the job and fair pay, we can contribute to society and send our kids to decent schools.”
Christopher says he will keep protecting his hometown. “There are a lot of opportunities in San Diego if you have some money. It really is a great place to live if you can afford it. And that’s why we need to change things.”