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A Little More Security for Security Guards in Hartford County

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Before the pandemic, security workers rallied in front of the Statehouse for better health insurance. (32BJ SEIU)
Before the pandemic, security workers rallied in front of the Statehouse for better health insurance. (32BJ SEIU)
December 21, 2020

HARTFORD COUNTY, Conn. -- This holiday season will be a little brighter for about 350 security officers in Hartford County, who have just ratified their first-ever union contract.

The contract, negotiated by the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, raises wages by about 25% over the next few years and includes job protections.

Mary Tracey, who works as a security officer, said until the contract was finalized, management could fire or discipline people at will. But now, they'll have to show just cause.

"Our officers won't be taken advantage of anymore," Tracey asserted. "You don't really have to bite your tongue anymore. You have representation. Someone has your back."

The officers protect many of the capital city's biggest office buildings that house insurance companies like Aetna and the Hartford, as well as such landmark properties as the Gold Building, the Bushnell Performing Arts Center and Union Station.

Rochelle Palache, district leader and incoming vice-president for SEIU 32BJ, thinks the breakthrough contract has major implications for other workers seeking a better deal with their employers.

"We've raised wage standards for Hartford County security officers," Palache explained. "That will raise the standard for other classes of workers, all across the state of Connecticut."

Especially important during the pandemic is a clause in the new contract that offers a uniform health plan and guarantees workers five sick days per year. Previously, the workers had to use their vacation days when they were ill.

The security companies that have agreed to the terms and signed the contract include Allied Universal, G4S, Securitas, SSC and SecurAmerica.

Disclosure: 32BJ SEIU contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Immigrant Issues, and Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CT