Pittsburgh – This morning all nine members of Pittsburgh City Council voted the Safe and Secure Building Act into law. The ordinance creates universal training standards for security officers across the city.
“This law will make Pittsburgh a safer,” said Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess (D -9th) the lead sponsor of the ordinance. “It also improves the quality of security jobs giving officers a greater sense of dignity and respect.”
The bill calls for universal training of security officers employed at all large buildings or campuses across this city, including iconic sites such as: PPG Place, PNC Bank, Oxford Center and the University of Pittsburgh. Under the legislation, security officers will have to have a minimum of 40 hours of training and eight hours of an annual refresher training on various topics: emergency response, arrest procedures, use of force and first aid. First responders along with the entire City Council have been strong allies working to ensure this ordinance’s passage.
“Security officers provide an immeasurable amount of help in a crisis situation. This training ensures we’re all on the same page working to safely protect the lives of Pittsburghers,” said firefighter Darrin Kelley.
“This means a lot to the security guards across this city. We know that we will be able to do our jobs better when called upon in an emergency,” said Maria Centeno, a security guard. “We care about the buildings and the tenants we protect and want to do the best job we can. We already wear a uniform, but this training brings added knowledge and professionalism.”
The Safe and Secure Building Act passed out of committee last week with unanimous support from all nine members of council.
“This landmark legislation helps in making Pittsburgh a better city. The ordinance professionalizes these jobs, creating a standard for the industry that other cities can emulate. It also turns these into good jobs so that these hardworking men and women can build up their communities,” said Pittsburgh City Council President Bruce A. Kraus.
32BJ SEIU, which represents nearly 1,000 guards in the city helped in creating this historic legislation.
“Lack of training contributes to high turnover in this industry, but this legislation seeks to turn that around, providing real training for the men and women that protect us daily,” said Sam Williamson, Western PA Area Leader for 32BJ SEIU.
The law goes into effect in 90 days following passage.
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.