Calif. Security Officers Issue 10-Day Notice of Unfair Labor Practice Strike

Published: April 27, 2008

OAKLAND, Calif. – The following statement was released on behalf of security officers employed by Inter-Con, a contractor used by Kaiser Permanente for the protection of employees and patients:

Security officers at Kaiser Permanente hospitals are ramping up their fight against employer Inter-Con, April 25 issuing 10-day notice of an unfair labor practice strike in California to defend their civil rights. Inter-Con workers held the first-ever strike by hospital security officers last month in response to Inter-Con threatening, intimidating, and spying on workers who were trying to form a union for better conditions.

“We wanted a union for better pay and benefits-just like other workers inside Kaiser. But instead we’ve got Inter-Con violating our civil rights. We go to work every day to protect these patients and employees, but we have no protections ourselves,” said Warren Chauvin, Fremont.

Momentum from the first strike has built as Inter-Con continues to break the law and violate workers’ civil rights. Officers also filed more federal charges April 25 against Inter-Con, and workers are preparing to protest Inter-Con’s unfair labor practices at several Kaiser healthcare facilities throughout California on May 6, 7, and 8. The facilities include locations in the Bay Area, Sacramento and Los Angeles and could cover more 240 workers-more than double the number of the first strike. Officers will also hold their first national solidarity activities at Kaiser in Colorado, DC, Ohio and Virginia during the California strike.

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Inter-Con officers work for poverty wages, many making as little as $9/hour while at Kaiser. Many Inter-Con officers cannot afford the family healthcare coverage and do not have paid sick days. By comparison, facility janitors have free family healthcare, make a minimum of $11.50/hour and accrue paid sick leave.

“Without paid sick days, many of us are forced to work while we’re sick. If I were to have to miss even one week I would be in danger of losing my apartment,” said Dale Brown, Sacramento. “Plus I’m a single mother, and the insurance plan is too expensive for me to enroll my two kids.”

“I work to protect patients and hospital workers, but can’t event take a day off when I’m sick because we don’t have sick days,” said LaRonda Lynch, Compton.

Since November 2005, 1,500 Inter-Con security officers at Kaiser Permanente in California have been working to improve security and working conditions by forming a union with SEIU (Service Employees International Union). They are the only workers at Kaiser-either direct employees or subcontracted-who do not have a union, fair pay, free family healthcare, paid sick leave and more.

Worse, Inter-Con still owes security officers $4 million in recovered wages for requiring employees to work off the clock. The money was part of a settlement issued in Sept. 2007 for a class-action lawsuit against Inter-Con. With 1.9 million members, SEIU is the largest and fastest-growing union in North America and the largest property services union, representing more than 250,000 security officers, janitors, and other service workers. SEIU United Service Workers West represents 10,000 private security officers across California.

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SEIU April 25, 2008 press release

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