Security guards for Gilbert's buildings launched 1-day strike in downtown Detroit

Jun 13, 2019 at 4:19 pm
click to enlarge Rally in support of security guards in downtown Detroit. - Bridget Ekis
Bridget Ekis
Rally in support of security guards in downtown Detroit.

Protesters rallied Tuesday in support of a one-day strike by downtown Detroit security officers who want $15 hourly wages and the right to unionize.

More than 100 people, including elected leaders, turned out, many of them chanting and clutching signs. Some wore purple shirts that read, “Stand for Security.”

The guards, who are employed by Atlanta-based SecurAmerica, are paid to protect billionaire Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock-owned buildings.

Darian Stevens, 22, lives at his friend’s house in Warren because he can't afford to buy his own home with a $12.50 hourly wage.

“We secure billion-dollar buildings, but I don’t make enough money to buy a house,” Stevens said. “We put our lives on the line every day to keep people safe.”

A security guard for 12 years, Delores McDaniels said she and her coworkers are demanding living wages “by any means necessary.”

“I can’t even afford a car to get to work to protect billion-dollar buildings,” McDaniels said. “It’s time for a change. Now is the time to make things happen, and we’re going to make things happen by any means necessary.”

Members of other unions showed solidarity. About 200 janitors who are members of Service Employees International Union Local 1 pledged to stop cleaning Bedrock buildings if it means crossing a picket line. The Newspaper Guild of Detroit, which represents journalists at The Detroit News and Free Press, encouraged its members to “try and work from home if possible” to avoid having to cross a picket line to reach their newsrooms inside a Bedrock-owned building. Journalists also were advised to “not cross picket lines at other locations where you are not employed” and “do not go into the building if you are not expressly scheduled.”

Thursday’s strike began with a walkout at 6 a.m. It ends at midnight. It’s unclear whether security officers will strike another day. Some can’t afford to miss work and are worried about being fired for participating in a strike.

Negotiations with the company have been fruitless, the security guards said.

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