Security Officers Fight for Higher Wages, Healthcare, and Respect

Contract bargaining is underway for more than 4,000 union security officers in King County. Officers say the pandemic changed the scope of their work, and employers need to step up to retain skilled workers. SEIU6 officers kicked off their contract campaign with a public rally held at West Lake Park on March 18. Officers continue to meet in solidarity with their negotiations team, and to ensure their voices are heard at the bargaining table.

SEIU6 security officer bargaining surveys from earlier this year show the increased level of responsibility officers have taken on, from enforcing mask mandates and testing requirements, to protecting sites amidst civil unrest. Officers say that higher levels of conflict and stress on the job combined with high cost of living in King County has many of their coworkers walking off the post.

“We’re out here as frontline workers, keeping downtown secure and facing things that the public does not want to face. We’ve seen everything over these past two years, and we need more resources and support. It’s time we see some respect—both on the job and in our paychecks.” —SEIU6 Security Officer Cameron Lecksiwilai

Many officers seek to make the industry more inclusive, reflecting the growing ranks of women, people of color, and immigrants in the field.

“At my worksite, I had to endure micro-aggressions like snide comments from my supervisor because of my race and gender. When I was headed to the restroom, they would have one of my male co-workers follow me and wait outside the door. As the only woman at the worksite, when my co-workers did something it was all right but when I did the exact same thing, I would get into trouble.” —SEIU6 Security Officer Cheetahra Adkins

“COVID has been hard on security officers. More is being asked of them than ever before, but where is the compensation to match? Where are the extra sick days? Where are the protections for working parents who are forced to work overtime and incur late charges from daycare because there is no one to replace them at the end of their shift? Security officers are fired up and united and they’re ready to fight together for what they deserve.”—Zenia Javalera, SEIU6 President