Some of Portland’s leaders are throwing their weight behind private security guards’ drive to unionize. City Commissioner Steve Novick endorsed the workers’ efforts at a rally downtown Friday. And Mayor Charlie Hales offered his support earlier.
Organizers for SEIU Local 49 say many private security guards are veterans and ex-law enforcement professionals. A majority of security guards in the city are employed by only a few big corporations. Nationwide efforts to develop contracts with those international firms have been building for about a year.
Commissioner Novick noted that private security cannot be outsourced, and that gives the workers power.
“So we’re gonna use that power, we’re gonna stand up, we’re gonna fight back, we’re gonna win,” said Novick.
Negotiations for union contracts have been in the works for several months. Security guards on the bargaining team say it’s been tough, but that only a few issues remain to be worked out. Those are central issues — wages, health care and time off.