Security workers in the City of Pittsburgh ratified a historic four-year contract this week which includes a record-high pay raise and several workplace benefits many of them never had before, such as paid time off and 100% employer-paid healthcare.
Effective immediately, the 1,350 security workers from 10 security companies across the city will receive a minimum wage increase to $15.50 an hour. The contract calls for their wages to increase up to $17.50 over four years.
The union representing Pittsburgh security guards, SEIU 32BJ, released a statement Thursday saying workers now make almost $6 more an hour than before they unionized in 2015 with 750 workers.
“Before the union contract most security workers made less than $10 an hour, and only 15% of workers had employer-provided healthcare,” the union said. “Today, almost 90% of Pittsburgh security workers qualify for employer-funded healthcare.”
Under the new contract, security workers also will receive a short-term disability benefit, the continuation of 100% employer-paid healthcare and more time off.
Juneteenth will be added as a paid holiday and workers with 15 years of service receive a fourth vacation week.
“This union contract guarantees that for the next four years I will get the living wages, benefits, and dignity and respect that all workers deserve,” said Ted Hoffman, a Pittsburgh security worker, in a statement.
“The wages, healthcare benefits, and paid time off mean that I can go to work healthy, happy, and knowing that I can provide a good life for myself and my family.”
While the contract will boost their pay substantially, wages for Pittsburgh security workers still lag behind the national average.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2021, there were 1.06 million security guards working nationwide. The mean hourly wage is $17.23. The mean annual wage is $35,830.
The highest mean wage for security guards is in Washington, D.C. where the hourly mean wage is $25.41, and the annual mean wage is $52,840.
East Kentucky security guards, however, earn the lowest pay at $10.21 hourly mean wage, and $21,240 annual mean wage.