By Jane M. Von Bergen, Philly.com
Why would AlliedBarton Security Services, the Conshohocken-based security guard company, give the names, addresses and phone numbers of its Philadelphia employees to the Service Employees International Union, SEIU Local 32BJ?
That’s a question that the Philadelphia Securities Officers Union posed to David Chapla, director of labor relations. The PSOU represents AlliedBarton guards who work at Philadelphia Art Museum. On April 11, about 110 University of Pennsylvania security officers, including the yellow-vested bicycle patrol, will be voting on whether to accept the PSOU as their union. If the union wins the election, the PSOU will represent 250 security guards.
“Our lawyer asked if we could have a similar courtesy,” said Fabricio Rodriguez, who serves as the union’s administrator. So far, he said, the company has declined to reply.
“The SEIU has asked the company to provide them with a list of names, addresses and phone numbers of employees in the Philadelphia area,” says the March 17 letter from Allied Barton general manager Jim Gorman. “If you do not wish to be contacted at home by an SEIU representative, please phone the Union … during regular business hours.”
Rodriguez finds it odd. Usually, he said, companies “resist every step of the way,” when it comes to union organizing drives. That’s what they did with his union ‘s push to organize guards at the art museum, he said. “Companies don’t like unions,” Rodriguez points out in what has to be an understatement.
So what’s the story? There’s been some bad blood between the two groups. You can click here to read more.
When unions go through the normal election process, the company is required to give names and contact information 15 days before the election. But that’s not enough time to solidify support, said Rodriguez. If the union hasn’t made significant inroads by then, it’s not likely it will win an election. When PSOU has tried to organize AlliedBarton guards, AlliedBarton provides the names, but not a day before it has to by law.
But the SEIU doesn’t go through the normal election process. Like many unions, the SEIU believes that the National Labor Relations Board process is flawed and simply opens the door to worker intimidation. But when it comes to representing security officers, the SEIU can’t go through the process. By law, unions that represent security officers can not represent other workers unless the employer has agreed.