Security guards back on the job, talks continue

Striking security guards are back at work today after three days of picketing in San Francisco.

The guards, part of the 6,000-strong Service Employees International Union 24/7, demanded higher wages and better healthcare. About 140 employees walked off the job Monday, staging marches and picket lines through Wednesday, when negotiations began with the group of private security companies that employ the guards.

“We are committed to going until we get a good contract, if that means [negotiating] all night or going all weekend, we’re going to get a good contract for these workers,” said Gina Bowers, spokeswoman for SEIU 24/7. In a show of good faith, officers have been returning to work, she said.

Earlier this week, Mayor Gavin Newsom issued a statement calling on both sides to come to a speedy resolution. The Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to pass a resolution supporting the striking workers.

Bowers said a discrepancy of as much as $5 per hour exists between predominantly African American security workers, and the white and Latino custodial and maintenance workers that make up the remainder of the staff of most large buildings.

“It’s really about healthcare… If we can get full family healthcare, it’ll make people stay in these jobs longer, and that will help curb turnover,” Bowers said.

amartin@examiner.com  

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