Deal includes job protection, wage increase & health benefits for 350 officers
HARTFORD, Conn. — Last night a bargaining committee representing about 350 security officers who work at downtown office buildings and suburban complexes across Hartford County reached a tentative agreement on a first union contract. Subject to ratification in a special on-line Saturday meeting with the union membership tomorrow, the agreement will finally provide this essential workforce with crucial job protections and a sizable wage increase, as well as with a health insurance plan that will allow officers to protect themselves as they protect the community at large.
The accord marks a significant breakthrough in the protracted negotiations between the officers’ union, 32BJ SEIU, and five private security firms that contract with property owners to protect most major businesses in Hartford: Allied Universal, SSC, G4S, Securitas and SecurAmerica. Together, these firms provide security for the vast majority of commercial properties in the county, including at insurance companies like the Hartford and Aetna, as well as at landmark properties such as the Gold Building, the Bushnell Performing Arts Center, and Union Station.
The agreement provides a base salary of $13.65 an hour starting March 1, 2021, which will rise over the four-year life of the contract to $16.90 for those with at least 6-months of service. The increase of $3.25 an hour represents a raise of almost 25 percent during that period, which will help stabilize and professionalize the security workforce across the county. The accord also provides crucial job protections that security officers have never before enjoyed, including “just cause” protection for discipline, a clear definition of worker seniority, and protections for officers if an employer changes contractors. Also included is a plan for individual and family health coverage that reduces the premiums many officers currently pay for the various policies offered by the five security contractors.
“We are very proud that the negotiating committee has reached an accord that will give hundreds of men and women essential job protections, significantly increase their pay, and make health insurance more affordable,” said Rochelle Palache, acting District Co-Leader of 32BJ SEIU and head of the union in Connecticut. “Winning the union last year was only the first step. Now this contract creates a solid base from which to continue improving the security profession in future negotiations. It’s also important to note that many of these officers are people of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as by the systemic racism that plagues this nation. In the long run, as the profession stabilizes, this good first contract benefits not only the workers, their families, and their communities, but everyone who works at or visits a commercial office building in Hartford County.”
With 175,000 members in 11 states–including 5,000 in Connecticut–32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country.