There are many strong security leaders in New York and four have just embarked on a journey to add “organizer” to their list of experiences. They will join the security brigade, a 32BJ program for member leaders to develop and fine-tune their organizing skills. The fall 2014 security brigaders signed up more than 100 new security officers into the union. These new members will see pay raises, enhanced health benefits, paid sick time and more– some for the first time in their careers! The winter 2015 brigade is looking to sign up even more.
Carlos Caicedo says the group’s first week on the brigade was a whirlwind. They started their work supporting airport workers who held a massive march at LaGuardia Airport to demand good jobs and a union. The 5-year security veteran and shop steward says, “You either swim or you sink. I know I will learn how to help people.”
Stephanie Williams says that after 25 years on the job she has seen her shop get comfortable with the union and looks forward to being able to reactivate them for the security contract campaign while she is on brigade. She says the next step in her journey is to help other security officers fight for their rights. The proud mother of four says joining the brigade and taking classes at the Thomas Shortman Training Fund are steps to reaching even further in her career. Her building, right near Rockefeller Center, has no shop steward and Stephanie says she’s ready for the challenge.
Tyesha Ravenell became a security officer 11 years ago when her cousin suggested she apply. A year later she had her son and decided to stay put in order to support him. Over the years she became a leader in her shop and then became the shop steward. “The person who brought me onto the brigade, Benita, used to be a security officer,” says Tyesha. “She pulled me in. I haven’t stopped fighting since then.”
Dawn Meyer-Barrett has worked in security for 13 years. She has supported 3 children through her work and proudly says she has one child who is a college grad and one in college now. “Our contract is up next year. I know what it’s like working in security and I know I will be able to tell officers that I have been where they are and show them through my life what they can achieve with the union,” she says.
The brigade will join the security organizing team to organize 600 new security members in the next few months.