Twin Cities security officers announce tentative agreement with $15 guarantee

6140_243260025396_243259240396_7984825_6002954_n_400x400Most union security officers in the Twin Cities will earn at least $15 per hour – and future officers will be on track to do the same – under the terms of a tentative contract agreement struck late last night, according to union leaders.

Local 26 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents more than 2,000 security officers in the metro area, called the tentative agreement “groundbreaking” in a press release today.

In addition to “substantial raises” that would move most officers up to a minimum wage of $15, the new contract would provide officers with more sick days and lower health care costs for family coverage. The agreement also achieves greater equity between working conditions in suburban and downtown shops.

Members will take a ratification vote on the proposed contract in the coming weeks. If approved, the security guards’ contract would continue a trend of Minnesota unions taking up the demands of the so-called “Fight for $15” in contract negotiations.

Local 26 also represents 4,000 janitors in negotiations with Twin Cities cleaning contractors. They voted last month to authorize their representatives to call a strike if necessary.

Here’s the full release:

Twin Cities security officers with SEIU Local 26 reached a tentative agreement for a ground-breaking new contract late Wednesday night. All current officers will achieve a minimum of $15 an hour wage and all future officers will be on a path to do the same. The contract also won more sick days, an improvement in healthcare cost for families and for the first time ever combines the Suburban and Downtown contracts to create more equity. The agreement would give substantial raises over the course of the contract for all of the over 2,000 security officers who protect buildings around the Twin Cities that house some of the most prominent and wealthy corporations in the country. Members will vote to ratify the contract in the next few weeks. The agreement comes as the janitors with SEIU Local 26 have voted to authorize a strike if a fair contract is not reached for the 4,000 janitors represented by the union.

James Matias, a security officer and SEIU Local 26 Executive Board member from St. Paul who was on the bargaining committee, saw firsthand how officers in the union stood together to win this pioneering contract.

“Security officers in the Twin Cities fought hard for this contract, and are proud that we have won such an impressive victory for thousands of working families. Some security officers are currently at $10 an hour, so a jump to $15 by the end of the contract will result in a 50% pay increase, which will be a huge change,” said Matias, who lives in St. Paul with his wife and kids. “We fought to make sure that all workers in our union are given the chance to have the pay and benefits that ensure we can support our families. We won gains for all members, but we remained unified that everyone should have the basic dignity of fair pay for their hard work. In an area as wealthy as the Twin Cities, as we protect some of the most affluent businesses in the world, all working people should be able to provide for their families. This contract is a huge step in the right direction and we are now ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with janitors and other workers in their fight.”

The agreement comes just over a week from the strike deadline set by Twin Cities janitors who are also represented by SEIU Local 26. Unlike security officers, employers on the janitorial side have stalled, delayed and intimidated workers fighting for a fair agreement, which lead to the January 23rd unfair labor practice (ULP) strike authorization vote. The janitorial bargaining committee set a Feb 14th strike deadline for a fair contract. If there is not a fair contract by that date, the committee could call an ULP strike at any point.

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