“I am still shocked! I can’t believe we did it! I can’t believe we won our first ever union contract,” said Maria Centeno a security officer with Allied Barton in Pittsburgh.
Maria, a native New Yorker and mother of five, left the Big Apple for Pittsburgh and a better life years ago. She is one of nearly 1,000 security officers to win their first-ever-union contract in the Steel City with 32BJ. The officers started organizing last year with 32BJ. In April 2015, bargaining started with the security firms: Allied Barton Security Services, G4S, Securitas, St. Moritz Security Services, I.S.S., S.O.S, and Chesley Brown. The historic, three-year deal was ratified in September and went into effect on October 1. The agreement increases hourly wages by $1.95 over the term of the contract. Guards will also receive quality healthcare benefits starting January 1, 2016 and universal training from the Safe and Secure Building Act legislation passed earlier this year.
“This contract brings dignity and respect to our jobs. The professionalized training we receive will allow us to help in any crisis situation. This contract is not only a win for 1,000 security officers across Pittsburgh; it’s a win for our families and the entire city. When we do better everyone benefits.”
Members of Pittsburgh’s City Council and Mayor William Peduto (D) were instrumental in helping the guards and the contractors reach an amicable deal. Peduto was on hand for the kick-off of bargaining and for the announcement of the deal October 7.
“We couldn’t have reached this historic deal without our allies and their unwavering support. I’m glad they understand the importance of our Fight for $15 and the right to unionize. This contract puts us on the pathway to the middle class and helps us achieve our goals,” said Maria.
The security officers protect many iconic buildings across the city: PNC, Highmark, and U.S. Steel Tower.
“This is a great first step, but guards across the city know the Fight for $15 continues. We are working to Raise America. This is a clear signal to all that it can and will be done. We must keep fighting.”