Security Officers Union Report Sounds Alarm on Poor Industry Standards

May 08, 2013, 11:05 ET from Service Employees International Union

COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new study by America's largest security officers union suggests that the largely unregulated private security industry may not yet be up to the task of keeping Americans safe from numerous hazards. According to the report, very few Universal Protection Service officers interviewed in Columbus and Indianapolis said they were trained by their employer in the last two years to handle bomb threats, chemical threats; or natural disasters.

"This is a perilous world we're living in right now," says Valarie Long, Executive Vice President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). "A lot of Americans are not feeling at ease. We need to raise standards in the private security industry to make people both feel and be more secure."

The report, based on in-depth interviews with security officers, examines training standards at Universal Protection Service in the Midwest, site of two recent corporate acquisitions in Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana.

In Columbus today, State Representative Robert Hagan and Columbus security officers spoke out about major safety concerns at public buildings in Columbus, including the Riffe Center which houses the offices of every member of the Ohio House of Representatives.  Universal officers protecting these buildings report that training and equipment are inadequate to protect these high-profile sites—an apparent violation of Universal's contract with the State. SEIU Local 1 filed an official complaint to this effect with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services on Monday, May 6th.   

In Indianapolis, more than eight in ten Universal Protection Service officers surveyed reported they did not receive "consistent, regular trainings." Nearly a third reported receiving no training whatsoever by Universal prior to being posted to their worksites. Poor or non-existent training programs have led to these officers being untrained to handle bomb threats, chemical threats, natural disasters, facility evacuation, fire drills, and CPR.

In order to enhance public safety, win good jobs with healthcare, and solve problems on the job, Universal Protection Service officers in both Columbus and Indianapolis are now seeking to form a union with SEIU, which represents more than 40,000 security officers throughout the United States. SEIU has more than 50 years of experience in the private security industry and employs a proven market-based approach to raising industry standards.

To view the full report, visit

SOURCE Service Employees International Union