Chicago Security Officers, Building Owners and Security Contractors Invest in Good Jobs, Pump $8.9 Million into City’s Neglected Neighborhoods

***Advisory for Monday, April 22, 2013***

CONTACT: Leslie Mendoza Kamstra 773-896-7815 or mendozal@seiu1.org

Security officers unanimously approve contract agreement benefiting both their families and communities 

CHICAGO—Downtown security officers are partnering with Chicago’s Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) to invest in good jobs and take action to create a safer Chicago. While Chicago’s security officers protect corporations that generate more than $500 billion a year, most of them go home to the most dangerous and economically depressed communities in the city.

Unanimously, the security officers approved a new union contract that preserves their ability to support their families. About 2,000 working families will benefit from more than $4,000 in increased wages and access to family health care over the next three years. Together, the officers will bring $8.9 million into the local economy, pumping much needed resources into our city’s struggling neighborhoods.

“When responsible companies do their part and invest in good jobs with family health care and a livable wage, our whole city benefits,” says Tom Balanoff, President of SEIU Local 1. “This three year agreement will boost our local economy in the communities that need it most. Now we will call on employers in the suburbs to follow BOMA’s lead and invest in good jobs that support hard working families.”

The new three year downtown security officers’ union contract, which goes into effect April 21, guarantees:

  • Annual wage increases for security officers, the majority of whom are African American and live in the city’s most impoverished, under-resourced neighborhoods where 80 percent of Chicago’s more than 500 murders occurred in 2012.
  • Protection of quality, family health insurance.  The security officers’ plan provides comprehensive coverage for the officers and their families at a significantly lower cost than the average family health plan in Illinois.

“We worked hard, we persevered, we fought, and we won. Now we can feel a little better about our jobs, and, ultimately, our lives,” says Tonya Yarbrough, a security officer at the Chicago Stock Exchange. “This contract is not going to fix our neighborhoods overnight; but if we come together and fight for our neighborhoods the way that we fought for our jobs, we can make a safer Chicago.”

More than 5,000 security officers in the suburbs will work to settle their contract by the end of 2013.

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SEIU Local 1 unites 50,000 property service workers in the Midwest, including security officers, janitors, window washers and residential doormen.  Together we work to build strength for all working people, on the job and in our communities.

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