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Security officers rally at Bryant Park for new contract

Stephon Johnson | 5/5/2016, 1:04 p.m.
Security officers affiliated with 32BJ have had enough.
32BJ takes on the RNC and DNC

Security officers affiliated with 32BJ have had enough.

On April 28, Workers’ Memorial Day, almost 1,000 security officers rallied at Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan for a new and fair contract. Security officers protect sites such as the New York Public Library, the Time Warner Center and the 9/11 Memorial.

Their most recent contract expired April 30.

“Workers’ Memorial Day is a day to honor workers who have lost their lives on the job,” said Denis Johnston, vice president and director of the Security Division for 32BJ, in a statement. “New York security officers have saved lives through quick emergency response, have helped prevent robberies and disasters, have even helped deliver babies, and earlier this year one security officer, Idrissa Camara, even gave his life to protect the people in his building. It’s time we stand up and be there for them in return.”

The rally saw support from other workers, including office cleaners, airport workers and doormen. Security officers were also joined by elected officials such as New York State Assemblyman Michael Blake, New York State Senator Roxanne Persuad and New York City Council members Rafael Salamanca and Ben Kallos.

“Almost three months of negotiation to come to an agreement is enough,” stated Kallos. “After a decade of progress and organization with 32BJ, security workers cannot lose what they have achieved. This contract must keep wages competitive and provide access to health insurance. I stand with 32BJ security workers and demand that you get a fair contract to perform these vital jobs that are now an important part of New York’s economy and security.”

“Every day security officers are asked to protect the things we value most: our lives,” added Persuad. “Today we stand in solidarity for the security of them and their families.”

Security officers’ employers are accused by 32BJ of denying the officers a fair raise and affordable health insurance options.

Representatives for the union bargaining committee and their employer were still negotiating a new contract last week, hitting the three-month mark of the bargaining process. Although the Retail Advisory Board (which represents building owners and property services contractors) reached a tentative agreement April 25, 32BJ security officers were still negotiating a new deal.

“While security officers keep the public safe, the health and financial safety of our families is not being taken seriously,” said security officer and bargaining committee member Lee Abramson in a statement. “We are very much needed in New York, and we need a contract that will help us support our families and our communities in New York.”