By SAM SKOLNIK
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
A local union branch, trying to place many of the area’s private security guards in its fold, released a study Thursday that it said showed a unionized work force would make the guards better able to respond to crimes, natural disasters or the threat of terror attacks.
Officials with the Service Employees International Union Local 6, which represents about 2,400 office building janitors in Seattle and Bellevue, held a news conference yesterday flanked by several local Democratic politicians and other supporters.
They said a majority of security guards, undertrained and underpaid, were eager to be unionized so they could improve and standardize training procedures, better their working conditions and slow high turnover rates.
Office building and public transit security in Seattle is only as strong as its weakest link, City Councilman Nick Licata said.
“Right now, the private security force is the weakest link,” he said.
Licata, union officials and others stressed that security guards receive no FBI fingerprint checks when hired and no “site-specific” training to make sure they know in detail the structure they are paid to protect.
“Seattle’s commercial building owners, the Sound Transit system and other sensitive public sites use personnel from private security firms to detect, deter and report threats,” wrote the SEIU in its 18-page report. “However, these building owners may be creating a false sense of security, since Seattle security officers often get minimal training.”
The SEIU hopes to represent about 1,500 private security guards regionally.
Filed under: SEIU |