Resolution follows sudden discharges of 33 NHA security officers in June.
NEWARK, N.J. — On Wednesday, the Newark City Council voted to pass a resolution that urges the Newark Housing Authority to rehire security officers who were discharged without cause earlier this year and begin offering good, family sustaining wages and benefits again. The resolution urges the NHA to offer prevailing wage, an industry standard for wages and benefits including health insurance to its contracted workers. The move shows significant support for NHA creating good jobs that will benefit the entire community.
In June, the NHA awarded security work to two non-union contractors that offered substandard wages and benefits, effectively removing quality jobs from many public buildings. The layoffs angered local elected officials, NHA residents and former workers who rallied near the NHA’s offices.
“Removing the officers from City properties was a cruel blow to the community,” said Kevin Brown, 32BJ SEIU Vice President and New Jersey District Director. “The Newark City Council stood with the workers who were fired without warning. This resolution urges the Newark Housing Authority to do the right thing and put workers back on the job, with the good jobs they deserve. We thank Mildred Crump, Council President, and the Council as a whole for supporting this important resolution to get jobs back for the officers and for creating a definite pathway for worker justice. We will continue to fight until justice has been served to the affected workers and until the NHA recognizes prevailing wage and benefit standards that the City of Newark already recognizes. Newark needs to support working families, not tear them down.”
“Thank you for supporting my coworkers and me who were let go by passing this policy,” Marilyn Mars, a former NHA security officer said. “Many NHA security officers live at NHA buildings or live in Newark. The NHA’s decision had devastating consequences for many of us, including myself. We need this policy to protect our jobs— after all, we are the people who keep the NHA safe.”
“I stood with 32BJ as the NHA tried to justify laying off these workers,” Council President Mildred Crump said. “With this resolution, we are sending a clear message that the NHA needs to do right by these security officers and rehire them, while creating good, sustainable jobs.”
RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF NEWARK, N.J.
Type of Service: Resolution to the Newark Housing Authority
Purpose: Urging the Newark Housing Authority to ensure that its former security officers are offered work and to pass policies strengthening protections from displacement and wage and benefit standards.
WHEREAS, the Municipal Council of the City of Newark has learned that the Newark Housing Authority does not require bidders to adhere to prevailing wage and benefit standards; and
WHEREAS, in June 2019, Newark Housing Authority terminated its contract with Allied Universal Security Services, LLC, a company which paid $12.50 an hour and provided health insurance for employees with no co-premium and other fringe benefits; and
WHEREAS, the work formerly performed by Allied was given to Pro Cops and Prime Security and as a result 60 Newark Housing Authority subcontracted security officers lost their wage and benefits rates as Pro Cops and Prime pays $12.00/hour; and
WHEREAS, at least 30 experienced security officers, lost their jobs; and
WHEREAS, these workers now face economic hardship and the Newark Housing Authority has lost experienced workers who knew the neighborhoods and residents; and
WHEREAS, the Municipal Council of the City Newark has adopted prevailing wage and benefit standards, as well as displaced worker protection, for its own contracting and believes that all Newark residents should have good family-sustaining jobs;
WHEREAS, prevailing wage and benefit standards are essential to recruit and retain high quality workers who can provide the security services desperately needed by Newark residents.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEWARK, that it strongly urges the Newark Housing Authority:
1. to see that all former NHA security officers are offered work at NHA and none lose his/her job solely due to a change of contractors;
2. to enact a policy requiring the same prevailing wage and benefit standards for its contractors as the City of Newark does; and
3. to enact a policy protecting displaced workers who are discharged without cause when a contract changes hands as the City of Newark does.
With 175,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., including 13,000 in New Jersey, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.