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October 1, 2015

Security guards protest



Demonstrators march to the Cathedral of Learning as part of a Sept. 25 rally on Schenley Plaza that called for better training and higher pay for Pitt’s security officers.

Marchers crossed Forbes Avenue and waited outside the Cathedral while a delegation of Pitt students and security guards delivered to University administrators a stack of postcards signed by Pitt students in support.

Lamar Johnson, a security guard in Pitt’s Sennott Square garage, told supporters on the plaza that security guards often are regarded as people who merely open doors and provide directions. “We are much more than that,” Johnson said.

“Professionalized training brings respect and dignity to a job. You can put on a uniform and look like the best security guard ever,” but security officers need training in order to be prepared. “Provide the training we need to protect the students and staff,” he urged.

Security officers in the city recently were organized under Service Employees International Union. Sam Williamson, district director for SEIU Local 32BJ, said bargaining for a unified contract with 10 security companies that employ guards in Pittsburgh began in April.

Security contractor U.S. Security employs about 200 security guards on the Pittsburgh campus. They earn an average of $8.93 an hour, Williamson said.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 48 Issue 3

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