Four security companies and the SEIU Local 32BJ have entered four-year contracts that provide raises, health insurance and other benefits to about 1,500 security officers who work at three-quarters of the District's commercial office buildings, according to the union.
Security officers and other members of the union joined council members Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), Kwame R. Brown (D-At Large), Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) and Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) yesterday in announcing the contracts, which went into effect on April 9.
The contracts come after the D.C. Council approved legislation that requires most employers to offer paid sick leave to workers and another bill that set minimum wage at $11.51 per hour and benefits at $3.16 for security officers at private commercial office buildings. The rate increases annually under the legislation.
Under the contracts with Admiral Security, AlliedBarton, Guardsmark and Securitas, officers will now earn a minimum wage of $12.40 per hour and health care and life insurance for their families.
Charles Owens, 44, who works as a supervisor for Securitas, said, "Having people come in without fretting about how they are going to pay their rent or take care of their kids will make my life easier."
"They will be able to focus on their work," he said.
Mendelson, lead sponsor of the Enhanced Professional Security Amendment Act, said the recent victories were about "the right to organize and the right to a decent wage."
Brown said the benefits packages could have the biggest impact. He said the majority of security officers are women, many of them the heads of their households. "They will have health care, life insurance, dental for their children," he said.
The benefits could reduce the number of people now using city-funded insurance, he said. "This could save the city money."