Dozens of security officers, community leaders, and union members rallied on March 16th outside the “Gold Building” at 151 N Delaware in support of good jobs for Indianapolis.
Security officers in our city 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 say they organized today’s rally to call attention to the negative effects of low-wage, no-benefit jobs on our community. Indianapolis’s poverty rates and rates of income inequality are rising. Currently, more than 1 in 5 children in Indianapolis live below the federal poverty line.
“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.”
The Gold Building is owned by Hertz Investment Group. The Securatex officers who guard the building are organizing a union in order to win a living wage and a voice on the job. Officers have reached out to Hertz but the company has refused to support them.
Securatex officers are paid 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.
“More and more working people in Indianapolis are being forced to rely on public assistance programs just to make ends meet,” says Nancy Holle, President of the Community Faith and Labor Coalition. “We can’t let companies get away with creating poverty wage jobs and then turning around and using our public safety net programs to pad their profits.”
Earlier this week, Securatex officers and clergy held a prayer vigil outside a Wishard Health Services clinic. Securatex officers guard Wishard property but have no access to affordable health care themselves. Some officers report that they rely on Wishard for free or reduced price health care, despite working full time.