Security officers launch 1-day strike in push for contract

10:10 AM, Feb 27, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Union organizers say thousands of private security officers are on strike Wednesday, a one-day work stoppage designed to put pressure on their employers to return to negotiations.

The security officers, members of SEIU Local 26, say the strike is targeting six employers to protect and strengthen the middle class through a fair contract that will cover thousands of workers.

Those six employers are G4S, AlliedBarton, Securitas, Viking Security, ABM Security and Whelan. The union says members have been working without a contract since December 31.

The union says the work stoppage was called after some of the employers, subcontracted by corporate clients like Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and Target, walked away from negotiations before reaching an agreement with 2,000 security officers to jointly create stable, full-time jobs.

"Going on strike is a huge sacrifice - none of us want to do this," said Kevin Chavis, a security officer subcontracted by AlliedBarton for Wells Fargo Center in a written statement. "But it feels like if we don't act, there's not going to be any middle class left. All Minnesotans need fair wages and affordable health care for our families. As a Minnesota company, American Security was able to step up and take care of Minnesotans - the others should follow their lead."

There is progress for some workers: Just after 4:00 a.m. Wednesday SEIU Local 26 security officers reached a tentative agreement with one of the subcontractors, American Security, after 14 hours of emergency bargaining through the night.

Due to the tentative agreement, security officers will not be striking against American Security. The remaining six employers would not agree to the tentative deal, however, and are being targeted by Wednesday's strike.

SEIU Local 26 also represents janitors, who themselves voted on February 9 to authorize a strike. After negotiations that lasted more than 31 hours this weekend 4,000 Local 26 janitors came to a tentative agreement with their employers.

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