Security company accused of being unfair to workers

A routine contract extending the security services for Muni could be the subject of debate today as the Board of Supervisors addresses accusations that the company that has been handling the public transportations agency’s security since the late 1990s is unfair to its workers.

The Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors approved a $17.1 million contract in December despite the dissent of two board members who were concerned that employees of the San Francisco-based company were not part of a union. Of the six original bidders for the contract, many of them union, none offered an experienced crew of armed security, according to Muni officials.

In a Government Audit and Oversight Committee, however, Supervisor Chris Daly said The City should explore options to make sure King Security workers were compensated as well as union security firms.

The current contract with the company, which was set to expire Dec. 31, will continue into March as there is still money left in the agreement. If an agreement isn’t reached by then, the work to protect Muni’s facilities and guard the workers who collect money from fare boxes could fall to the San Francisco Police Department.

The debate over the security detail heated up after SEIU organizer Deirdre Lehn brought up former and current King Security employees to several public meetings who claim they were harassed after trying to unionize. One worker claimed he was fired for talking with SEIU.

But King Security owner Kim King said the union is using strong-arm tactics on her company, which has several clients but only two public contracts, Muni and the U.S. Coast Guard.

“The union has fabricated issues that don’t exist,” King said. “We did not wrongfully terminate the employee. The union is harassing us. I have messages saved on my voice mail that the union would put pressure on the Board of Supervisors.”

The Board of Supervisors will take up whether to approve the new three-year contract during its meeting today at 2 p.m.

bbegin@examiner.com

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