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July 02, 2006



One of the nation's largest unions has dispatched more than 100 organizers and members from around the country to Los Angeles as part of a full-scale two-week push to sign up thousands of licensed security guards for a new union local.

By "licensed security guards", they mean people who have a “guard card”, meaning that they took a 40 hour course in “security” and passed the simpleton-level “exam” the state collected a fee on. It’s like watching the PSTN (Professional Security Television Network)’s most rudimentary security officer courses, passing the super-easy quizzes that accompany them and then being issued “credentials” as a “professional” security officer. This is one way a state can collect lots of money off practitioners of a mostly unskilled job while contract security lobbyists gain a liability defense: “We hired our co-defendant based on his certification by the state as a licensed security officer.”

Meanwhile, most of these “licensed” personnel don’t have a clue where Security is concerned, they wear a uniform to earn their sawbuck an hour for whatever reason, nothing more, a tiny percentage even knowing about, let alone earning, even the very basic but effective CPO (Certified Protective Officer) certification.

Now here’s the Service Employees’ International Union, an organization representing waiters, bartenders, hotel employees and so forth, wanting to include “rent-a-cops” in their membership. Of course, they do: There are a whole lot of ‘security’ guards out there, certainly more than enough to make those potential union dues, collectively, a veritable pot of gold.

And they can negotiate on behalf of the security employee. Instead of standing around, doing nothing and knowing little for eight, ten or twelve bucks an hour, perhaps the union would be able to get them significantly more money and up their benefits for the same around-standing and total lack of real security skills.

The Service Employees International Union is expected to announce the public phase of the campaign, called Five Days for Freedom, today. Some organizers and union members — many from New York, Chicago, Oakland and Seattle — have been in Southern California since early last week, working with local union members and clergy who have been slipping in and out of office buildings and urging security officers to sign union cards.

The goal of the drive, say union and religious leaders, is to secure signatures from more than half of the approximately 6,000 licensed security guards who are employed by five large security contractors in office buildings around the county.

If they can collect about 3,500 cards, union officials said, they would be in a strong position to pressure security companies and building owners to quickly recognize a security officers' union. The service employees union and other unions prefer this strategy to the often costly and time-consuming step of holding a formal election.

When the feces finds the fan, most of these people will be utterly useless, probably among the fleeing rather than among those innate and deserving professionals protecting, restoring order and documenting events – after all, they only took the job because they were desperate for work.

And now the SEIU wants to unionize these folks? Fine, but only those who have taken it upon themselves to at least earn a CPO, thereby demonstrating that they are serious about doing security work rather than simply “making a living”.

If my business were big enough that I owned an office building, you can bet your life that the security personnel therein would be well trained, well compensated and experienced, and nothing a union could offer them would either equal or exceed what they they already had.

Instead, these L.A. unionistas want to make companies assume more responsibility for their unskilled proprietary security employees, or for the contract security personnel that work on their premises.

I’ve always been utterly contemptuous of the “guard card” laws that states like California employ because they’re geared more toward gaining employment for the unemployable {and collecting a fee, to boot}than they are towards ensuring that security people are in a job where they actually belong.

Hmmm, I wonder, out of sheer idle curiosity, if there are any liberals involved in this….

Extra, extra, read all about it here (free membership may be required)....

Posted by Seth at July 2, 2006 12:38 AM