Downtown Detroit security officers OK possible strike
Detroit — Downtown Detroit security officers announced Monday afternoon that they plan to walk off the job in an unfair labor practice strike in the coming days.
About 50 security officers, joined by prominent clergymen, labor representatives and elected officials, gathered outside One Campus Martius for the announcement.
Micah Brown, a 19-year-old SecurAmerica officer, delivered the officers' decision. Dan Gilbert's Bedrock real estate firm enlisted the Atlanta-based security contractor in May 2018.
"Since I've been with the company, I've had to deal with things like disrespect, harassment and unclear protocol," said Brown. "That's why we're deciding that $12 an hour is just not enough."
SecurAmerica services several of downtown's flagship buildings, including One Campus Martius, Chrysler House, First National Building, Chase Tower and Federal Reserve.
The security officers are demanding a $15 minimum wage and the right to unionize. They make between $11 and $13 an hour, according to Service Employees International Union Local 1.
"We are the first people you meet, and the last people you see when you are leaving," Brown said. "And with that, we have decided that we will be striking. We are serious about getting $15 an hour and union rights."
Officials with SecurAmerica and Bedrock did not immediately respond Monday to messages seeking comment.
Public officials at the event included City Council members Janeé Ayers and Andre Spivey, state Reps. Tyrone Carter, D-Detroit, and Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, D-Detroit, and Wayne County commissioners Tim Killeen and Jewel Ware.
Spivey said he supported the officers' right to a living wage and a safe environment to work.
"Our city will not come back with just new residents, brand new buildings, sporting events, our city will come back when we eradicate poverty. That's when we'll come back," Spivey said.
The protests come nearly a year after SEIU Local 1 successfully campaigned for a $15 minimum wage for downtown's janitors.
Pamela Owens-Moore. a member of SEIU Local 1's executive board and a janitor who helped lead last summer's protests, said the benefits of newfound prosperity in downtown have primarily been going to developers.
"But where's the money going for our communities? Where are the Detroiters who have been here through the good times and bad times, but no money to be seen?" she said. "I tell my custodians and janitors: 'We take out the garbage, but we ain't nobody's trash.'"