As security officers join the Fight for $15, they brought their campaign to ASIS International, the largest conference of security industry professionals. Security officers from Chicago, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Portland, New York and Minneapolis raised an issue near and dear to their hearts – the need for good jobs for veterans in the security industry.
Veterans and security officers are part of a growing national movement to raise wages and create good, stable jobs for our communities. When security officers and responsible security companies work together, we’re able to improve security services, increase safety on post, and create good jobs for veterans and other security officers.
One in five security officers in the United States is a veteran. Vets come into the job with training, experience and a work ethic that employers value.
Yet not all employers provide the kind of dignified employment that veterans—and all security officers—deserve.
Many security officers are struggling just to get by, forced into difficult financial decisions every day.
Mike Montalbo, a veteran of the U.S. Army, is paid less than $14 an hour in expensive Silicon Valley. He is the primary caregiver for his 92-year-old mother. Although living in her home makes it easier to provide care, Mike would like the financial freedom to live independently.
“We served this country and continue to protect it,” Mike says. “All veterans and working people should be able to provide for our families.”
Low wages and difficult working conditions—including a rate of fatal workplace injuries more than twice that of all workers in general—also contribute to employee churn.
When security officers form a union, we are able to tackle this problem and improve the quality of service provided. For example, the largest security contractor in Los Angeles cut its turnover rate in half by working with security officers to keep experienced first-responders on the job, due to improved wages and working conditions.