Minneapolis, MN — After a one-day strike that involved hundreds of SEIU Local 26 security officers and an agreement with one locally based contractor, a federal mediator has confirmed to Local 26 that six remaining contractors are headed back to the bargaining table this morning. Today workers participated in a one-day strike over unfair labor practices after six of their seven subcontractors failed to reach an agreement to jointly create stable, full-time jobs. SEIU Local 26 security officers called on their employers to come back and negotiate until they can reach a fair contract – or face additional, larger strikes.
“It’s not easy to give up a day’s pay,” said Kevin Chavis, a security officer subcontracted by Allied Barton for Wells Fargo Center. “But it’s a sacrifice we must make to show our bosses that we are serious about getting a fair contract. We all deserve fair wages and affordable health care for our families. If they aren’t willing to offer the same fair and equitable conditions, they need to know that our strength will continue to grow if we must face an additional strike.”
Chavis is a military veteran and has one son. He joined hundreds of security officers who picketed locations throughout the Twin Cities. The largest picket happened at Wells Fargo Center, where Chavis works. At one point, more than 150 workers and their allies marched in front of the building, calling for Wells Fargo and other corporate elite like U.S. Bank and Target, to stand up as leaders in the state.
“The CEO of Wells Fargo could make one call and settle this contract,” said Demetruis Moore, a security officer with AlliedBarton. “He holds the power, just like all the CEOs of these companies do, to tell the companies they contract to help create good jobs, not destroy them.”
Security officers picketed buildings from six of their seven employers – G4S, AlliedBarton, Securitas, Viking Security, ABM Security, Whelan – who have all failed to reach an agreement with workers. They will head back to the bargaining table with Local 26 security officers Thursday morning.
Security officers did not picket the properties subcontracted to American Security, which is locally owned. The St. Paul-based company came to a tentative agreement with workers early this morning around 4:00 a.m. after more than 14 hours of emergency bargaining. It is the largest security contractor in the Twin Cities, employing approximately 700 of the 2,000 workers.
“Security officers with locally owned American were able to win a deal which matched the standards Local 26 janitors were able to win this past weekend,” said Chavis. “American Security took this step to strengthen the middle class, the janitorial subcontractors were able to take this step, why can’t the rest of the security subcontractors do the same? Wells Fargo needs to demand its subcontractors treat workers fairly, just as others have done.”
More than 4,000 Local 26 janitors reached a tentative agreement last weekend after 31 consecutive hours of negotiations. They will vote to ratify the contract on Saturday.