Washington, DC – By a unanimous vote, private security officers in Washington, D.C. have ratified a new four-year contract covering 1,700 officers who protect most commercial office buildings in the District. The region’s top private security contractors and the union representing the security officers, 32BJ of Service Employees International Union reached an agreement on June 28th. The contract provides an immediate hourly 40 cent wage increase and a yearly 3% total compensation increase in subsequent years. Officers will also maintain fully employer paid quality health insurance.
“This contract is a smart investment in both our economy and into protecting Washington’s commercial office buildings,” said Jaime Contreras, Capital Area Director for 32BJ SEIU. “The men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe will receive the wages and benefits they need to support their families and communities.”
Effective July 15, 2012, officers will earn a minimum of $13.94 per hour.
“I am the first point of contact for every issue that might arise in my building, the tenants depend on me for their safety,” said Krystal Coleman, a security officer who protects a downtown office building. “Bargaining this contract gives us more respect.”
Negotiations began in May between 32BJ and representatives of the contractors, Admiral, Allied Barton and Securitas. Prior to officers’ first-ever union contract in April, 2008, officers were making as little as $8.24 an hour and most lacked health care and benefits.
Gallery Place, the Watergate Offices and the National Geographic Building are among high-profile commercial office buildings that 32BJ officers protect.
As the largest union of security officers, 32BJ SEIU has raised the industry’s wage, benefit and training standards in New York, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. With more than 120,000 members in nine states, including 16,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.