On strike: S.F. security guards walk out

Security guards for office buildings in San Francisco have gone on strike this morning, picketing at least 14 buildings as they call for higher wages and better healthcare.

“There’s a double-standard in these high-rise office buildings,” said Service Employees International Union spokeswoman Gina Bowers, speaking from in front of 1 Front Street, where picketers were getting ready to march to their buildings. She said the double standard exists between other service workers in the buildings, such as custodians, who make a living wage, and security workers, who make as little as $24,000 per year, making them the working poor.

“This calls the question on San Francisco: What kind of future does this city have for working people, when these workers are protecting these multi-billion corporations?” Bowers said.

About 98 local security guards have walked out, and are being joined on the picket line by workers from Boston, New York, Los Angeles and other cities.

Picket lines are located in front of 1 Front St., 333 Market St., 50 Fremont St. and 11 other buildings, Service Employees International Union Local 24/7 Bowers said. The number of picket lines is expected to grow throughout the day.

Security officers voted Sept. 15 to authorize union leaders to call an unfair labor practice strike at anytime.

“The real issue is that large corporations that own buildings need to take responsibility for security in their buildings, and make sure that security jobs are good jobs for the safety of the Bay Area,'' Bowers said.

In addition to better training and increased wages, SEIU Labor 24/7 is asking for adequate health benefits for the 4,000 Bay Area security officers it represents, Bowers said.

The security officers plan to hold a rally and march today in front of 1 Front St. at 4:30 p.m., Bowers said.

— Bay City News contributed to this report

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