Officers Call for 1.1 Million Good Jobs In the Nation's Security Industry

Sep 11, 2012, 07:00 ET from Service Employees International Union

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PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As security professionals from across the globe gather today—the 11th Anniversary of 9/11—in Philadelphia for the ASIS International 58th Annual Seminar and Exhibits, security officers are urging industry leaders to help turn the nation's 1.1 million security jobs into good jobs.

"A good job allows you to work hard and live a decent life by buying a home, saving for school, and retiring someday," says Garfield Tomlinson, a security officer with U.S. Security Associates in New York City. "But where I work, that's not the case."

Security officers united in Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and supporters will present a plan at the ASIS International security industry conference to grow the industry in a socially responsible manner. The statement, "High Standards, Excellent Value: Security Officers' Vision for Our Industry's Future" calls for good jobs with healthcare, safe workplaces, family-friendly working conditions, comprehensive standards for training, reduced turnover, and the freedom to form unions in order to achieve these ends.

Already an important part of the economy, the security industry is expected to grow by 18 percent by 2020. Officers are seeking to couple growth with increased professionalization of the industry, which for too long has been characterized by its underpaid workforce.

Many in the security industry share the officers' vision. However, Georgia-based U.S. Security Associates, the nation's fourth-largest security firm, appears not to. While U.S. Security Associates officers generate an estimated $1.2 billion in annual revenue, they are paid as little as $8 per hour. The firm has also been under intense scrutiny for its poor track record—including a pattern of alleged sexual harassment, racial discrimination, licensing irregularities, and poor customer service. For example, according to an e-mail by a former U.S. Security Associates client—an official at Delaware's Justice of the Peace Courts—a company supervisor responded, "Hey…, it's not my f***ing problem!" when asked why the company failed to notify the client that it was unable to provide an officer to secure one of its courts—a recurring problem.  

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Working to improve public safety and bring good jobs to their communities, more than 35,000 security officers across the country have united in SEIU, the largest security officers union in the United States.

SOURCE Service Employees International Union