MILWAUKEE – On Equal Pay Day, dozens of labor and community allies, including Alderwoman Chantia Lewis (9th District) and Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mahlon Mitchell, rallied outside Milwaukee City Hall in support of pay equality and to welcome local security officers into their union, SEIU Local 1.
Over the past year, Milwaukee security officers who protect City Hall, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Schlitz Park, the county transit system and many other public and private buildings across the city have been fighting for higher wages, better benefits and a safer Milwaukee for all of its residents.
“Having a union means we now have a fair shot at a good future for ourselves and our families,” said Antonisha Malone, a security officer at the US Bank Center. “We now have a strong, collective voice on the job that will allow us to improve our economic security and negotiate for things like fair scheduling, paid time off, parental leave and other improvements.”
Despite anti-worker state policies and President Trump’s efforts to weaken workplace protections for women, the nearly 300 security officers who work for the region’s leading contractors, including Allied Universal, G4S, Prudential Security and Securitas, have now won their union with SEIU Local 1. They are expected to begin bargaining their historic contract this summer.
A strong union contract with good raises and better benefits will help Milwaukee working families make ends meet while ensuring that working people have a voice on the job to protect themselves from pay disparity and other forms of discrimination.
“We’re rising up on Equal Pay Day, because we know that a strong union contract guarantees equal pay for equal work,” Malone said.
Alderwoman Lewis and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mitchell also stood with the union members in support of pay equity.
“Because women still earn less than men, unions are making sure that the wage gap is closed,” Lewis said. “I stand with you proudly, and I understand that it is our responsibility to support policies that help working families.”
“The gender pay gap is an embarrassing reality that is perpetuated in Wisconsin by the low-wage economy that Scott Walker built,” Mitchell said. “From rectifying the gender and racial wage gaps to raising wages for working families – people coming together, like in unions, is the way to build an economy that works for all of us.”