Leroy Abramson, a security officer for Securitas at Morgan Stanley and an executive board member of 32BJ, was no stranger to unions when he took his first job as a security officer many years ago. In the profession he transitioned from, as a photographer and technician, he was a member of the Teamsters.
It was a different time and, although the economy was bad, jobs in security was plentiful because it was after Sept. 11, 2001. The jobs just didn’t pay very well.
“I knew guys making $6 and $7 an hour, having their paychecks bounce and having a rough time,” Abramson, who earned $9.50 with no benefits in his first security job in 2001, said. “There were no standards for getting paid a decent wage.”
Along with the private security industry, Abramson has come a long way. Abramson was a member of the bargaining committee that negotiated a far-reaching settlement of the New York City Master Contract between private security officers at some of New York City’s leading commercial buildings and the nation’s top three security contractors, Allied Barton, Securitas and G4S, in the summer of 2012.
He said being a security officer and being member of that bargaining committee is important because of his direct experience with the problems in the industry, the low pay and lack of respect. Winning improvements in their job conditions and wages and benefits is not only good for the security officers and their families, but also for their communities, he said.
The biggest part was being in a union, which he said is the most important thing going on for workers in our country right now because it acts as a bulwark against fat cats who are really running the country.
“Being in a union like 32BJ or other comparable union is very, very important because they are pushing us forward and we are going forward,” Abramson said. “ The word union means we are all together. No one is out there on a limb by himself. That togetherness, all of us pulling toward one goal, better pay to take care of our families reflects on our communities and it gives us respect.”