D.C. security officers spearheading wave of improvements in the District

04/25/2016

Big win for officers, now ready to push for a $15 and paid sick leave for the rest of D.C.

By: Marakah Mancini

By: Marakah Mancini

Washington, D.C. security officers ratified a new four-year agreement with the city’s largest security contractors, covering nearly 3,000 commercial security officers who are members of 32BJ SEIU. By the end of the new contract, most officers will earn at least $17.54 an hour.

“I’m happy about this contract because it will help us a lot with our everyday living and medical expenses, especially for people with big families,” said Bruce Barfield, a security officer protecting the National Geographic Society building and 32BJ SEIU bargaining committee member. “It helps us get more respect and allows us to better support the communities where we live.”

Besides providing fair wage increases, the agreement also maintains current employer-paid healthcare, improves working conditions and job protections, and provides an increase in retirement benefits.

“With security concerns growing in the District, it’s more important than ever that security officers earn a living wage to ensure that the security industry is professional and prepared to handle emergencies,” said Jaime Contreras, Vice President of 32BJ SEIU. “This contract is a win for the entire city by helping the men and women who secure the nation’s capital better support their families and their communities.”

The victory for security officers is part of a wave of recent efforts to improve the lives of D.C.’s underpaid workers. A $15 an hour minimum wage is slated to appear on the November ballot. Paid family leave is under consideration by Council, who also has a bill pending to grant full-time hours to thousands of janitors.

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