Security guards call one-day strikeby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
Hundreds of security guards across the Twin Cities staged a one-day strike Monday against three large private security companies. The guards have been without a contract since the first of the year.
St. Paul, Minn. — The guards are with the Service Employees International Union Local 26. They say the firms Securitas, American, and ABM are asking them to pay too much of their health care costs.
"Most of the officers I know need a $7 increase in wages to be able to afford this insurance," said Howard Worley, a guard at the Town Square building in St. Paul, while speaking in a picket line. "You're looking at $800 a month for insurance for a family."
The strike affects more than 750 guards who patrol office buildings and the skyways throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul. They plan to return to work Tuesday.
The companies say there are temporary workers in place. They say they're still working to come up with a health care deal, and plan to meet with the union next week.
"We will meet again March 6 to continue to hammer out the issues with the help of a mediator," said spokesman Guy Thomas in a statement. "Job actions are not in the interest of our employees or the businesses we all serve. Our companies also want a collective bargaining agreement as soon as possible."
Hundreds of security officers voted Feb. 9 to authorize their bargaining committee to call a strike. The guards have been bargaining for several months, and have been working without a contract since Jan. 1.