Kobra Oden, a security officer who works to protect Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, has been speaking out about improving the security industry for over a year now. Writing for the Stand For Security blog in 2011, she talked about being unable to provide for her family due to low wages and a lack of affordable health insurance. Last week, Kobra joined with other Philadelphia security officers and community members to rally for a union organizing drive that will improve 3,000 security jobs and help raise standards within the industry.
"Too many workers in Philadelphia are working hard every day but are not able to make ends meet. That's why I'm fighting for good jobs for our communities," said the mother of three and member of the 32BJ SEIU Security Organizing Committee. "I work hard and I take pride in my job. At the end of the day, I just want to be able to provide for my family and contribute to my community."
Security officers rallied alongside elected officials, community and faith leaders, union members, workers, students and activists in Philadelphia's famous LOVE Park on Thursday to unite for improving the city's security jobs.
"With our nation's economy still in trouble - and about 25 percent of Philadelphians living in poverty - it's more important than ever that hardworking families have good-paying, stable jobs," stated Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell. "Now these workers will have the chance to earn a decent wage and have the health care that they need to support and care for their families."
The 3,000 security officers who are organizing for better wages and benefits will bring millions of dollars to Philadelphia and surrounding communities. A majority of security officers across the city at major universities, institutions and office buildings in Center City are organizing with 32BJ.
"Securing wage increases and healthcare is not only a significant victory for the city's security officers, but it also demonstrates that when workers come together and unionize they can bring about a path to the middle class," said Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Richard Bloomingdale in support of SEIU and local security officers. "We encourage all of the security companies in the city to work with SEIU 32BJ to create family sustaining jobs for security officers in Philadelphia."
Local media also covered several workers' important stories. We encourage you to read more about them at Philadelphia Weekly here.