Pittsburgh, PA – Over a hundred workers and supporters including City Council President Bruce Kraus and Councilman Dan Gilman were on hand for a march through downtown Pittsburgh today to demand family-sustaining wages.
“Raising the wage not only benefits workers, but communities. When I do better, I can help my family, and I can help the small business on the corner stay open,” said Michael Parker a security officer at Pitt. “There are several businesses in communities that closed because residents just aren’t making it and can’t support them.”
A historic push is underway that can change the economic landscape of the city. Close to 1,000 security officers across the city are fighting to unionize, make livable wages, and bring respect and dignity to their jobs.
“We hear incidents of violence at college campuses and businesses on the news every day. Pitt isn’t exempt” said Parker.
Property service workers from the University of Pittsburgh were also on hand. Nearly 400 of these workers continue to work at the prestigious institution without a contract. They considered themselves part of the Pitt family until the university just offered them a 2% raise increase. It offered top tier administrators who make a comfortable six figures a 3.7% to 7% percent wage increase. Workers are wondering where is the respect.
“I love my job. I’ve been here for 38 years, but I am wondering if I am really a part of the Pitt family. Family doesn’t treat their loved ones like this. Family makes sure everyone makes it and that struggling isn’t their way of life,” said Bill Bue a Pitt grounds cleaner.
“Property service workers have an ally in this city council. Properly trained security guards and cleaners keep our city safe, clean and secure. They deserve to be treated fairly and compensated well. When Pittsburgh’s employers invest in low-wage workers, the entire city benefits,” said Councilman Dan Gilman.
With 145,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., including 22,000 in Pennsylvania, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.