BUILDING SECURITY

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Roughly 1,100 New York City security guards voted to join Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, the country’s largest building service workers union, at an arbitration hearing on November 29. The guards, employees of Burns International Security Services—a subsidiary of Securitas Group, work at a host of city institutions, including CUNY campuses, Yeshiva University, New York Methodist Hospital, AT&T and Pfizer. The ruling marked the first major victory for the union in its effort to organize nearly 60,000 private security officers in New York [see “Watch Out”, 2/28/05] to seek higher wages and more benefits. “The wages they give us aren’t enough to live on,” said Charles Douse, a security guard at Queensboro Community College, who voted to join the union. Douse said he currently earns $9 an hour with no health benefits. The union has also pushed for its guards to receive more safety training. “New security officers are the ones with better training,” Douse said. “We could all use that.” (B. Farrell) [12/12/05]