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Allegheny

Union security guards in Pittsburgh ink contract for $15 per hour in 4 years

Bob Bauder
| Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, 1:36 p.m.
Sam Williamson, western Pennsylvania district director for Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, stands with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and unionized security guards in announcing a contract with private security companies that will pay guards up to $15 per hour over four years.
Sam Williamson, western Pennsylvania district director for Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, stands with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and unionized security guards in announcing a contract with private security companies that will pay guards up to $15 per hour over four years.

Security guards in Pittsburgh will be paid up to $15 per hour by the end of a four-year contract announced on Tuesday.

Sam Williamson, the Western Pennsylvania district director for the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, was joined by Mayor Bill Peduto and unionized guards in the mayor’s conference room to announce the contract.

The contract covers 14 security companies providing services to building owners in Pittsburgh.

Under the agreement, the companies will provide raises over the course of the contract that will increase the hourly rate to $15 per hour by the end of four years, Williamson said. Companies also agreed to provide medical benefits at no cost to the employees, he said.

“At a time when labor unions are under attack, reaching this agreement with our employers shows we can work together for good union jobs that are still needed in the city of Pittsburgh,” said Joshua Kunkle, 31, of Crafton who works two security jobs in Downtown. “This means I can put a little extra aside to take my son to the Aviary or other activities that he likes to do. I can put a little aside for a rainy day.”

The union organized city security guards four years ago. This was the local’s second contract with the security companies staffing buildings ranging from large Downtown high-rises to universities and museums. Union members ratified the new contract on Friday. The starting wage was $12.54 per hour under the old contract.

Mike Embrescia, executive director of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Pittsburgh, said negotiations were tought at times, but both sides got a fair deal.

BOMA Pittsburgh is pleased that all parties reached a fair and equitable conclusion,” he said. “We are happy this process is complete, and we remain encouraged by these positive developments.”

Williamson said guards were paid as low as $8.50 per hour before they organized.

“You brought the standard up so that the prosperity that we’re seeing throughout the city is helping all,” Peduto said. “What you’ve been able to do is to show people in other cities that there is an opportunity. This is going against the grain and being able to show that there still is that opportunity to build toward the middle class.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, bbauder@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobbauder.

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