Security workers prepare for strike

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February 4, 2008 // UPDATED 2:22 pm - February 11, 2008
By: Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas

The private security workers who guard many of Downtown’s office towers were preparing to strike Monday for better health benefits and training, a representative of the local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) said.

The security officers voted Saturday to authorize their bargaining to call a strike if negotiations with security companies planned for Friday don’t go well. The officers are demanding better health benefits and training.

A SEIU Local 26 spokesman said about 750–800 security workers are employed in Downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. Most guard commercial office buildings, but union security officers also work in the Hennepin County Government Center, Block E and the ABC municipal parking ramps.

The spokesman said the vast majority of security officers can not afford their employer’s health insurance plans on the average wage of $11.76 an hour. In a recent survey, more than 80 percent of union members reported they do not participate in their employers’ health insurance plans.

The union spokesman said a lack of proper training and equipment put both the security workers and the public at risk.