On Friday, May 20, SEIU6 security officers marched in downtown Seattle to address industry-wide issues with low pay and poor retention rates. Over 4,000 union officers working in King County are currently bargaining for a new contract. Officers are seeking higher wages and improved staffing to ensure the retention of experienced officers and the provision of quality services.
“Experienced security officers protect people and properties and know how to deescalate conflict. Our work has gotten a lot more demanding since the start of the pandemic. If security companies don’t invest in officers, they risk burning out essential workers that protect our city’s most important buildings. Right now the industry is full of new hires. How is that keeping people safe?” -Greg Thompson, SEIU6 Security Officer
Union officers spoke out on the strain forced overtime puts on their health, families, and finances. Forced overtime, known in the security industry as holdovers, requires officers to stay on post after their shift ends if no one is available to work the following shift. Officers have reported working as many as 8 additional hours beyond their scheduled shifts.
“There are days we are forced to stay at work. As a mother, this makes it very difficult, because I am torn between losing my job or paying extra in childcare for being late, or even sometimes having to find another person to care for my child until I am able to leave.” -Brandy, SEIU6 Security Officer
“It comes down to respect. Union officers know that they provide an essential service, and they want to see that respect at the bargaining table. Investing in this workforce makes us all safer. Treating them like they’re disposable does the opposite.” —SEIU6 President, Zenia Javalera