2,000 Local Security Officers Go On 1-Day Strike Wed.
About 2,000 Twin Cities security officers who service companies including Wells Fargo, Target, and U.S. Bank staged a one-day strike Wednesday.
The strike came after employment contract negotiations between the union representing the workers and their employers—companies that act as subcontractors for those big corporations—fell apart, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26 said Wednesday.
However, not all SEIU Local 26 security officers were on strike. After 14 hours of contract negotiations that started Tuesday afternoon, the union did reach an agreement with one of the subcontractors—St. Paul-based American Security—whose security officers mainly work in St. Paul buildings. However, the remaining employers—G4S, AlliedBarton Security Services, Securitas, Viking Security, ABM Security, and Whelan—“walked away from negotiations before reaching an agreement . . . to jointly create stable, full-time jobs,” SEIU said.
A spokesman representing the six companies could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
SEIU Local 26 security officers have been working without a contract since the last one expired December 31. According to the Star Tribune, the workers are seeking wage increases, more affordable health care, and job safety provisions as part of a new contract. SEIU Local 26 security workers reportedly make $12.30 an hour on average.
“Going on strike is a huge sacrifice—none of us want to do this,” Kevin Chavis, a security officer subcontracted by AlliedBarton for the Wells Fargo Center in downtown Minneapolis, said in a 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.”
Meanwhile, about 4,000 local janitors—also represented by SEIU Local 26 and whose contract also expired December 31—on Saturday reached a three-year deal with their employers that includes pay raises and improved health care benefits. Both security officers and janitors represented by Local 26 had voted earlier this month to authorize a strike should negotiations fail.
Workers were picketing Wednesday in front of the Wells Fargo Center in downtown Minneapolis, and other picketing was planned throughout the metro area.