May 9, 2012
By Marc Bussanich, LaborPress City Reporter
A common refrain in the City these days is …..“32……BJ.” On Tuesday, May 8, the refrain echoed from Downtown Manhattan as security officers with SEIU 32BJ held a rally at Foley Square and then marched to City Hall Park. Back in March, LaborPress reported on the union’s new organizing brigades where union members from up and down the East Coast attended a week’s worth of training in the union’s City offices. Some of those members attended yesterday’s rally as the union gears up for contract negotiations with leading private security companies.
Kevin Doyle, 32BJ’s Vice President, said the union held the rally because over the last several years, “ We’ve been able to establish some fairly decent standards for security officers, but we need to raise the standards for all security officers in the City because security is a vital part of public safety that needs to be recognized.”
Indeed, 32BJ represents about 15,000 security officers in commercial buildings and they protect high-profile sites such as the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President, told LaborPress, after speaking to the union members, that if he were to become the City’s new mayor he would be more willing to work with the City’s unions.
“The union men and women in the City have always been for the people of this City, especially in times of great economic crises. During the financial crisis of the 1970s, union members said they would sacrifice and work with government—that’s always been the great union mantra.”
Stringer added, “In relation to security workers, there’s no profession outside the NYPD that we trust to keep us safe, so there has to be a different kind of respect for the security officers of 32BJ.”
Charles Young, who works as a security officer at the Bronx Library Center, was one of the union members who partook in the organizing brigade training. He said after going through the training, “It helped me to become much more knowledgeable and allowed me to educate my fellow co-workers of their rights as workers.”
He added, “At first, I didn’t take politics seriously, but after completing the training I learned the importance of workers’ political power.” firstname.lastname@example.org