Security Officers at Sony Building Authorize Strike Against Contractor for Unfair Labor Practices, says SEIU 32BJ
NEW YORK, May 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Security officers who work for U.S. Security Associates (USSA) at Sony Corporation's North American headquarters on Madison Avenue have authorized their organizing committee to call for a strike against the private security contractor if it refuses to remedy unfair labor practices.
USSA faces federal labor charges for allegedly attempting to thwart workers' rights to organize a union. By retaliating against unionizing efforts with a campaign of illegal intimidation, the contractor has repeatedly stood in the way of workers' attempts to gain better working conditions, wages, training and benefits.
One example of the company's retaliation is the sudden enforcement of a rule prohibiting security officers from socializing on and off their posts. Until the Union came around, no one said anything about socializing, according to Luis Pena, a contracted security officer at the Sony Building for eight years.
Other retaliatory actions include issuing a disciplinary warning to security officer Adrian Cleckly, a leader in the organizing effort, and the reassignment of security officer Ramon Espinoza from his post in an attempt to prohibit workers from discussing the union.
These recent actions are just the latest in a campaign of intimidation by USSA, which includes the firing of a worker in NJ for organizing with SEIU 32BJ.
Rabbi Michael Feinberg of the Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition said security officers do not deserve to be intimidated by their employer for engaging in lawful organizing efforts to better their work conditions. Also joining to support the workers is the Rev. Dr. Kennard E. Davis of the Truth Center for Higher Consciousness in Brooklyn.
"These are good, honest, hardworking men and women," Feinberg said. "They deserve fair wages, affordable health care and the ability to exercise their rights to form a union without facing threats of being fired or other harassment in their work."
The security officers took their strike authorization vote Wednesday at the building at 550 Madison Avenue.
Pena said security officers in the building won't rest until they have the right to organize for better wages, affordable health care, and good benefits without fear of retaliation. USSA security Officers would like an improvement in the number of sick days and personal days and vacation time that they get, Pena said, adding that officers currently get no sick days, personal days or vacation during their first year on the job. After one year, they get two sick days, two personal days, and one-week vacation. They get two weeks of vacation after five years on the job.
32BJ represents 13,000 security officers who protect commercial office buildings, higher education facilities, government facilities, museums, libraries, stadiums and other high profile sites in the city including the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, Yankee Stadium, Fordham and Columbia Universities, all three of New York City area airports, the George Washington Bridge, the World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
With more than 120,000 members in eight states and Washington D.C., including 70,000 in the New York area, 32BJ is the largest property services union in the country.
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