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Security Officers Hold 9/11 Memorial, Highlight Need for Unionization

by Jason Pramas (Open Media Boston)

BOSTON/Government Center - About 30 unionized security officers and community allies gathered at 1 Washington Mall next to Boston City Hall yesterday for a short memorial event for fellow security officers killed in the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001.

The Boston officers, members of Service Employees International Union Local 615, commemorated the deaths of the New York officers who were members of SEIU Local 32BJ - and reflected on the fact that 2 major security companies in downtown Boston have still refused to recognize their union. The officers consider themselves the "first line of defense for Boston residents and tenants working in downtown office buildings," and expressed concern that this role isn't factored in by non-union employers.

Security officer Stephen Rice pointed out the connection between the 9/11 tragedy and the present day in his remarks, "In today's ever shifting world of terror, uncertainty, economic distress, one thing has remained constant, which is the outlook and treatment of security personnel. As the world grows more conflicted and economic desperation is more widespread, the security industry is booming, but officers in Boston still feel undervalued.

Jeremy Shenk, a Community Organizer with SEIU Local 615, elaborated, "Security officers met and decided they wanted to do something to honor their brothers and sisters in New York City who lost their lives on 9-11 trying to save others. This was a way to take a step back from the campaign and to remember how important this work is in protecting lives and property. 9 officers died on their posts at the World Trade Towers in 2001 and we watned to take a little time yesterday to honor them for their sacrifice. Too often security officers are invisible so we wanted to name them and thank them for what they did."

The event concluded with a reading of the fallen officers' names by security officer Betty McGuire, and a moment of silence. The union officers plan to continue their efforts to unionize all major security companies in downtown Boston.

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