Community and faith leaders joined security officers in a prayer vigil for good jobs on Tuesday, March 13th. The vigil was held in front of a Wishard Health Services clinic on the city’s near east side.
Security officers in Indianapolis protect lives and property every day, but many still live below the poverty level with no access to affordable health care. Officers who work for security contractor Securatex organized the vigil to call attention to the effects of low-wage, no-benefit jobs on our community.
“I work hard and I take pride in my job,” says James Townsel, a Securatex officer who guards the construction site of the new Wishard hospital. “But after 3 years with Securatex, I barely make enough to live on and I have no health care.”
Wishard Health Systems provides health care at reduced cost to low income communities, but the security officers who protect Wishard property—like Mr. Townsel—have no access to affordable health care themselves and must turn to clinics for free and reduced priced care when they get sick.
“Wishard does great work in this community,” says Assistant Pastor Patricia Murray, Vice President of Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis. “Without organizations like Wishard, a lot of working people in Indianapolis would have no way of getting health care. But it shouldn’t be that way. People who live and work in our community should have access to health care and should be paid a living wage.
Securatex officers in Indianapolis make as little as $7.25 an hour. According to a recent survey of Indianapolis Securatex officers, 88% report that they do not have any health insurance through the company. A third of officers surveyed report that they have to rely on public assistance for health care.
Officers and community allies plan to follow Tuesday’s vigil with a rally on Friday outside the “Gold Building” at Market Square Center, where a Securatex officer was allegedly removed from his post for trying to organize a union.