Private security officers make historic gains in new union contract

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In a groundbreaking victory that will pave the way for similar gains by other workers in Minnesota, private security officers in Minneapolis and Saint Paul have won access to affordable health insurance, higher wages, improved training and equipment, and sick leave, their union announced.

A tentative contract agreement, covering 800 security officers who protect people and buildings, was reached late Tuesday between Service Employees International Union Local 26 and five Twin Cities security companies.

“This victory for security officers is a major step forward in restoring Minnesota’s middle class,” said Javier Morillo, president of Local 26. “Now, working families in the Twin Cities are prepared to keep up the fight to show what can and should be done to ensure everyone in our state has access to quality, affordable health care.”

The five-year agreement, which will be put to a ratification vote on Saturday with a recommendation by the bargaining team for approval, includes the following improvements:

• Affordable health care for full-time security officers for the first time ever. The cost of single coverage will drop to $20 per month and family coverage to $260 per month.

• Wage increases of 25 to 32 percent that begin to lift working families out of poverty. Wages will increase by at least 50 cents in each year, with some officers seeing increases of up to $3.20 over the course of the contract.

• A process for building stronger training and equipment standards to improve public safety in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Officers at Block E in downtown Minneapolis have already been fitted for bullet-proof vests as a result of heightened public awareness due to security officers’ efforts.

• Sick days that will allow full-time security officers to access the health care they need to stay healthy at work.

The tentative bargaining agreement with security contractors ABM, Allied Barton, American, Securitas, and Viking comes after officers held a one-day strike in February highlighting the need for affordable health care for all Minnesotans and after two major demonstrations involving civil disobedience.

“I have four kids without health insurance, so this contract will make all the difference for my family,” said Howard Worley, a security officer at Town Square in Saint Paul and a member of the union bargaining committee. “Now we need to keep it going and win affordable health care for everyone who stood with us and for all working families in Minnesota.”

Security officers drew on broad support in the community, including faith leaders and other members of the Workers Interfaith Network and ISAIAH and local elected officials.

“I congratulate the security officers and companies on reaching a contract agreement that will ensure the health and safety of those who work to keep our city safe every day,” said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

“Everyone in the Twin Cities won today,” added Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, “I hope that this marks the beginning of a broader solution to the health care crisis in our state.”

For more information
Visit the Workday special section on the Stand for Security campaign.

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