2,000 Twin Cities security officers strike for one day

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 27, 2013 - 11:25 PM

Negotiations are scheduled to resume Thursday.

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Members of SEIU Local 26 struck six security businesses in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

Photo: Richard Sennott • richard.sennott@startribune.com ,

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Security officers in the Twin Cities staged a one-day strike Wednesday against contractors that serve several major corporations, including Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and Target.

The job action came after emergency negotiations failed to bring an agreement, according to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26.

Some security officers, however, are not on strike. The SEIU said that the bargaining through the night Tuesday did result in a deal for those who work with subcontractor American Security, which is particularly prominent in St. Paul office buildings. Late , the union said a federal mediator had confirmed that the six remaining contractors will return to the bargaining Thursday. David Duddleston, a spokesman for the security contractors, could not be reached Wednesday. Those off the job Wednesday were striking “to protect and strengthen the middle class through a fair contract for thousands of workers,” SEIU Local 26 said in a predawn statement on behalf of the 2,000 striking security officers.

The security officers are seeking wage increases, more affordable health care and job safety provisions.

Local 26 security officers and janitors voted on Feb. 9 to authorize a strike. Negotiations over the weekend yielded a tentative deal on behalf of 4,000 janitors.

Fourteen hours of talks Tuesday brought the agreement with American Security. The six contractors being subjected to the one-day strike are: G4S, AlliedBarton, Securitas, Viking Security, ABM Security and Whelan.

The security officers have been working without a contract since Dec. 31.

Picketing was underway Wednesday morning at the Wells Fargo Center in downtown Minneapolis. Other picketing was planned throughout the metro area Wednesday. Romisha Jones of Roseville was one of those picketing in front of the Wells Fargo Center.

“It’s wages and it’s health insurance, though my main concern is health insurance,” said Jones, who’s been a guard with Whelan Security for six years. “I have three beautiful children and I pay $280 per month for health insurance. The majority of my income goes toward that.”Security guards represented by SEIU 26 make $12.30 an hour on average, the union says.Demetruis Moore, a security guard with AlliedBarton for five years, was also picketing in front of Wells Fargo. ”One of his particular issues is the subcontracting of work between security guard companies, which he said led to a $1 per hour pay cut for him.

Staff writer Mike Hughlett contributed to this article. Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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