American Security to negotiate with union over new contract

By Zac Farber

The union representing Macalester’s security guards is seeking a new contract with the guards’ employer, American Security, which it hopes will result in higher wages and increased benefits. The contract between American Security and the union that represents the seven full-time guards stationed at Macalester expired on Dec. 31.About 250 of American Security’s guards are members of the Local 26 branch of Service Employees International Union, a union with 1.9 million members in North America.

The president of Local 26, Javier Morillo-Alicea, said that the first contract between the union and American Security, enacted March 9, 2005, gave the guards paid vacations and holidays and secured 35 cent hourly pay raises in each year of the contract.

“We definitely want to make an improvement on that,” Morillo-Alicea said.

Security guards represented by Local 26 currently make from about $11 to $12 per hour, he said.

While Morillo-Alicea said he does not have a specific number in mind, he pointed to the hourly pay raises recently achieved in the negotiation of labor contracts by San Francisco and Los Angeles security officers.

“San Francisco security officers just won 60 cents a year and Los Angeles security officers just won 50 cents a year,” Morillo-Alicea said.

Abdu Hirse is a guard employed by American Security who works at Macalester.

“My wife and I make a total of $2,500 a month,” he said in a Local 26 report. “Our bills and expenses are at least $2,700. So we are always a few 100 dollars short.”
Morillo-Alicea said that winning better health care options for security guards will be a major issue in the contract negotiation.

A bargaining committee, composed of 40 members of Local 26, will meet today and on Feb. 7 with representatives from American Security in order to negotiate the new contract, Morillo-Alicea said.

At a member meeting on Feb. 9, Morillo-Alicea said, the union’s security guards will impose a deadline on American Security for the end of contract negotiation.