NEW YORK – 32BJ security officers protect some of the city’s most iconic sites, including the 9/11 Memorial, The New York Public Library, Time Warner Center and hundreds of other office, university and infrastructure buildings across the city. As their contract expiration looms on April 30, the potential of security strikes in the city rises.
On April 28, Workers’ Memorial Day, nearly 1,000 security officers and their supporters rallied at Bryant Park for a fair contract.
“Workers’ Memorial Day is a day to honor workers who have lost their lives on the job. New York Security officers have saved lives through quick emergency response, have helped prevent robberies and disasters, have even helped deliver babies, and earlier this year one security officer, Idrissa Camara, even gave his life to protect the people in his building,” said Denis Johnston, Vice President of 32BJ and Director of the Security Division of the union. “It’s time we stand up and be there for them in return.”
Security officers were joined by elected officials—including New York State Senator Roxanne Persaud, Bronx Assemblyman Mike Blake and New York City Council Member Rafael Salamanca— and other workers from around the city including doormen, school and office cleaners, airport workers and striking Verizon workers.
Bargaining between 32BJ and the employers for thousands security officers in New York started in February. On April 25, a tentative agreement was reached with the Realty Advisory Board, representing major building owners and property services contractors. The contract for thousands of remaining 32BJ security officers in New York will expire on April 30.
Employer representatives and the union bargaining committee are still in talks, but with just two days until the contract expires, the contractors want to deny 32BJ security officers fair raises and affordable health insurance options.
“While security officers keep the public safe, the health and financial safety of our families is not being taken seriously. We are very much needed in New York and we need a contract that will help us support our families and our communities in New York,” said Lee Abramson, a security officer and a member of the bargaining committee that has been negotiating with the contractors.
Should the security officers and their employers fail to come to an agreement, the remaining officers could go on strike, potentially affecting sites all over the city.
“Almost 3 months of negotiation to come to an agreement is enough, after a decade of progress and organization with 32BJ Security workers cannot loose what they have achieved,” said New York City Council Member Ben Kallos. “This contract must keep wages competitive and provide access health insurance. I stand with 32BJ security workers and demand that you get a fair contract to perform these vital jobs that are now an important part of New York’s economy and security.”
New York State Senator Roxanne Persaud said, “Every day security officers are asked to protect the the things we value most: our lives. Today we stand in solidarity for the security of them and their families.”
“Security officers play an essential role in ensuring the safety of our city and our communities,” said New York State Senator Brad Hoylman. “It only seems fair that the people entrusted with safeguarding our physical security should enjoy a modicum of economic security themselves. We owe a debt of gratitude to 32BJ’s security division members, and I stand with them in their fight to secure a contract that ensures fair wages and well-deserved benefits for them and their families.”