Improving Wages and Benefits Will Inject Hundreds of Millions of Dollars into Economy
Negotiations for a new union contract covering more than 1,000 private security officers who protect commercial office buildings in Essex, Hudson and Union Counties, including the cities of Newark and Jersey City, begin today between 32BJ SEIU and the region’s top private security contractors. 32BJ SEIU, the nation’s largest union of security officers, presented contract proposals that aim to improve standards for one of New Jersey’s largest and fastest-growing service industries.
“Improving pay and benefits for thousands of security officers is critical to preparing officers to better handle emergencies and support their communities,” said Kevin Brown, New Jersey State Director for 32BJ. “Companies have the capacity to create more family-sustaining jobs and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into New Jersey’s economy.”
The current median hourly wage for the officers - who protect commercial office buildings is just $11.48 an hour, with some reporting earning as little as $8 an hour. Few have benefits that include quality health care or paid sick or vacation days. Many have to rely on government assistance for health care or other essential needs.
The unionization of more than 1,000 security officers amounts to the largest private-sector organizing win in New Jersey. The victory is particularly significant considering the growth in this industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that from 2008 to 2018, the overall number of jobs in private security will grow by 10 percent, outpacing the average growth for all other occupations.
With more than 145,000 members in 11 states, including nearly 10,000 in the New Jersey, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country.