Miami Beach Could Bring in Irresponsible Security Contractor

Miami Beach Could Bring in Irresponsible Security Contractor

(Miami Beach, FL) On Wednesday, January 13, Tony Lima of SAVE, Charlie Ramos of the South FL AFL-CIO, and community groups will join Miami Beach security officers in demanding that the Miami Beach Commission not award a lucrative security contract to known law-breaker Kent Security Services, Inc.

The security officers, who are members of 32BJ SEIU, protect the Miami Beach Boardwalk, parking garages for City Hall, the Miami Beach Convention Center, and Lincoln Road, and the New World Symphony.

The current contractor, Security Alliance, just lost its contract with the City of Miami Beach. Now, City Manager Jimmy Morales is recommending Kent Security, an anti-union company with a history of labor violations, including wage theft and OSHA violations.

Even more alarming, Kent failed to disclose its litigation history and serious regulatory actions filed against the company as was required by the city’s RFP process.

“We know that good employers who respect their workers’ rights and obey employment laws have lower rates of turnover than companies who don’t,” said Helene O’Brien, Florida Director for 32BJ SEIU. “During these times of insecurity, we shouldn’t be awarding important security contracts to a company that doesn’t seem to have much respect for the law.

“I’m proud of the work that I do in keeping customers, their property, and their cars safe from robberies or break-ins,” said Kevin Pierre, a security officer who guards the 16th Street Municipal Garage. “We put our lives on the line everyday. We shouldn’t have to also worry about working for a company that doesn’t respect our rights.”

Kent’s history of lawsuits and violations include:

  • In 2009, Kent settled a pregnancy discrimination case, in which former employee Ellen Greenfeld claimed she was demoted, had her hours cut, and ultimately fired after asking for time off for her pregnancy.
  • In 2011, Kent was found to have underpaid City of Miami employees, by not paying them the wages required by the City’s Living Wage Ordinance. Kent was finally forced to pay $275,000 to the 159 workers.
  • In 2011, 32BJ SEIU filed unfair labor practice charges against Kent, which stated that management unlawfully interrogated workers about their union activity and threatened them if they went on strike.
  • OSHA has fined Kent at least twice since 2012 for at least $7,500 for serious violations that put workers health and safety at risk.

The Miami Beach Commission will decide on a new security contractor during its monthly meeting tomorrow. Advocates will call on the Mayor and Commissioners to reject Kent’s proposal during the commission meeting’s public comment period at 8:30 am and at a press conference right after at 9:00 am.

WHAT: Press Conference urging Miami Beach Commission to reject Kent Security’s bid to guard Miami Beach.

WHO: Tony Lima, Executive Director of SAVE, Charlie Ramos, Field Staff for South Florida AFL-CIO, Miami Beach Security Officers, and community groups.

WHEN: 8:30 am – Speakers at Miami Beach Commission Meeting

9:00 am – Press Conference in front of Miami Beach Commission Bldg.

WHERE: Miami Beach Commission Building

*Press Conference will be held in front of building

1722 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach

With 145,000 members in eleven states, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.

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