Washington, DC – The region’s top private security contractors and the union representing the security officers, 32BJ of Service Employees International Union today announced tentative agreement on a four-year contract, subject to ratification, covering 1,700 officers who protect most commercial office buildings in Washington, D.C. 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.
“Improving standards for the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe will help them provide for their families and support our economy,” said Jaime Contreras, Capital Area Director for 32BJ SEIU. “The agreement also helps keep more experienced security officers on the job, and better enables officers to respond to – and help prevent – emergency situations.”
Under the current four-year union contract, which was set to expire on June 30th, 2012, officers earn on average $13.54 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.
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.