Proper training ensures that buildings and people are kept safe, emergency procedures are followed, proper food safety and nutrition procedures are being used, and that all workers are not put needlessly at risk. Most importantly, it gives property service workers the ability and confidence to do their jobs and be proud of the work they're doing.
When it comes to the security sector, better training can go a long way. According to the 9/11 Commission, 85 percent of our nation's critical infrastructure is controlled by private security companies. Security officers are the "first" first responders during catastrophes. Though they provide crucial services, private security contractors aim to keep costs at a minimum and put officers on the job quickly, which can be at the expense of proficient training. Such low standards not only increase security risks, but it also contributes to the high turnover rates of officers that rival the fast food industry at up to 300%.
Through partnerships with employers and legislative efforts, SEIU members have established security officer training and education funds, helped pass laws that increase officer training requirements and won updated equipment standards.
For the food service industry, better training ensures that food service workers are able to prepare well-balanced meals that follow K-12 student nutrition guidelines, and that hospital workers can create meals for people on special or restricted diets. Proper training also keeps food safe by allowing food service workers to take important precautions on a daily basis.
Janitors are often the first line of defense in identifying water leaks and mold growth, which can help protect against the presence of drug-resistant infections that are an issue in schools and hospitals. Training also keeps janitors up to speed with "green cleaning," where they can learn how to use products and techniques that reduce exposure to harsh chemicals and have less of an impact on the environment. In major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Boston, SEIU has worked to improve training, language and other skills for janitors and other property service workers, and formed productive partnerships with building owners and contractors to improve the overall quality of service.