Indianapolis security officers aim for first-ever union contract

The SEIU Local 1 bargaining committee for Indianapolis security officers includes (L-R) Matt Warner, Paul Fraley, Robert Smith, Denise Randall, Derrick Lyles, and David Bailey. Photo by Fran Quigley

Matt Warner is a security officer in Indianapolis, and proud of it.

“I do this work because I felt a calling to help people, and this work is very important to the people of our community” he says. Among his other emergency response experiences, Warner has helped two different people survive severe diabetic shock.

But the importance of his work is not matched by his pay. Warner has young children, and he has taken on two part-time jobs to supplement his security officer salary.

So Warner and nearly 300 other security officers in Indianapolis began bargaining their first-ever union contract on March 23rd. They do so under the banner of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents over 40,000 security officers nationally.

In cities like Minneapolis and Chicago and Seattle, unionized security officers have bargained for paid vacation and holidays, along with wages that approach $14 per hour, much higher than the average Indianapolis pay. SEIU’s Local 1 also represents janitors at major Indianapolis corporate headquarters and downtown office buildings. The Indianapolis janitors will soon be bargaining contracts as well.

Warner is a member of the security officers’ bargaining committee, and he is clear about their goal at the negotiating table. “We enjoy securing the city and we are good at it, so we want to make these jobs better.”