Letter to the Editor
I am shocked that a reporter from such a fine school would write a propaganda piece such as your September 26th article entitled "Fordham's Security Service Undergoes Labor Dispute." You obviously got your information from a 32BJ brochure, without much more inquiry. You interviewed two unnamed security officers and never bothered contacting Allied International Union for any information.
While SEIU 32BJ might be the largest building service union in the city, they are not a security guard union recognized by the National Labor Relations Board. Section 9(b)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act says that a security guard must belong to a union that represents only security guards. The law was enacted to protect security officers and citizens alike in the event of labor unrest, such as strikes and pickets. 32BJ does a fine job representing janitors, doormen, maintenance workers etc., however they may never be certified to represent guards at the Labor Board. Allied International Union is a union dedicated to serving security guards only, and that is why we have been recognized by the N.L.R.B. for over 35 years.
The efforts of the United Student Government and Progressive Students for Justice are commendable; however, they should know the facts. Most of the security officers working at Fordham University have withdrawn support of 32BJ, and have declared their continued support of Allied International Union. Most have reported that they signed highly misleading cards for 32BJ under false pretenses. No one from 32BJ ever told them that they are unable to get an election at the Labor Board to represent security guards. In fact, the only way that 32BJ can ever represent security guards at Fordham is through a lengthy deauthorization process of their current union. If Fordham then were to choose to remove Summit Security from providing services, a new company could not hire more than 50 percent of the current security staff in order to make a deal with 32BJ. MORE THAN HALF OF THE CURRENT SECURITY OFFICERS AT FORDHAM WOULD BE OUT OF A JOB! These are just some of the truths that 32BJ omits from their propaganda, and that you have failed to state in your article of support of 32BJ.
For the past two years, SEIU has gone on a smear campaign of Allied International, boasting that they want to raise the standards of the security guard industry. However, the starting rate for security guards is $10.25 per hour in 32BJ's proposed "master contract". Our members securing Fordham are already earning more than that. In addition, 32BJ's monthly dues are excessively higher than any union in the country. If 32BJ was actually interested in raising the standards of the industry, they would be along side allied representatives who are working extremely hard to organize more than 50,000 unorganized security guards in New York City who are earning below poverty wages.
These nameless, faceless people are truly the working poor. We have yet to see any representative of 32BJ along side of us in our effort. This type of work requires a commitment to social justice. Again I emphasize that 32BJ is nowhere to be found. Do not be fooled. They are not interested in security guards. They have their own agenda. They should be working for social justice among the truly disenfranchised. Instead, they choose to raid legitimate guard unions and spread misinformation to the public. This does nothing to advance the interests of security guards in New York. In addition, it does not increase union membership. You do the math.
The group of organizers you make mention of in your article are nothing more than "hired feet" of 32BJ. They are paid less than the minimum wage by 32BJ to leaflet Fordham students. These poor people know nothing about labor, and even less about the National Labor Relations Act. Please contact the students at the University of Pennsylvania who rallied to support the SEIU organizing drive of security officers. For two years the SEIU (hired feet) allied at Penn and then hightailed it out of town when SEIU hade made a deal that did not include the security guards. They have never been heard from again.
You have not done your homework. You are in the process of doing a major disservice to the security guards protecting Fordham University. Before these hard working men and women lose their jobs, please use due diligence in ascertaining the facts. The stakes are much too high.
I am available to speak to you at any time.
Mary Beth Stafford
Vice President of Allied International
Direct Link to Story on the Fordham Website »»