Security officers who work for U.S. Security Associates (USSA) at Sony Corporation's North American headquarters on Madison Avenue have authorized their organizing committee to call for a strike against the private security contractor if it refuses to remedy unfair labor practices.
According to a release by 32BJ, USSA faces "federal labor charges for allegedly attempting to thwart workers' rights to organize a union. By retaliating against unionizing efforts with a campaign of illegal intimidation, the contractor has repeatedly stood in the way of workers' attempts to gain better working conditions, wages, training and benefits."
One example of the company's retaliation, says 32BJ, is the "sudden enforcement of a rule prohibiting security officers from socializing on and off their posts. Until the Union came around, no one said anything about socializing," according to Luis Pena, a contracted security officer at the Sony Building for eight years.
"Other retaliatory actions include issuing a disciplinary warning to security officer Adrian Cleckly, a leader in the organizing effort, and the reassignment of security officer Ramon Espinoza from his post in an attempt to prohibit workers from discussing the union," the release says.
The security officers took their strike authorization vote Wednesday at the building at 550 Madison Avenue.
Pena said security officers in the building won't rest until they have the right to organize for better wages, affordable health care, and good benefits without fear of retaliation. USSA security Officers would like an improvement in the number of sick days and personal days and vacation time that they get, Pena said, adding that officers currently get no sick days, personal days or vacation during their first year on the job. After one year, they get two sick days, two personal days, and one-week vacation. They get two weeks of vacation after five years on the job.
32BJ represents 13,000 security officers who protect commercial office buildings, higher education facilities, government facilities, museums, libraries, stadiums and other high profile sites in the city including the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, Yankee Stadium, Fordham and Columbia Universities, all three of New York City area airports, the George Washington Bridge, the World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum