Security officers employed by SOS Security, along with their supporters, including a large contingent of elected officials marched down Capitol Avenue late Wednesday afternoon despite temperatures in the low teens. Holding signs reading “I Am a Man” and “I Am a Woman” to evoke the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, the timing of the march was planned to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Saying they wanted decent wages and benefits, security, and respect on the job, activists organized by 32BJ SEIU, the largest security officers’ union in the United States, held signs at the corner of Broad Street and Capitol Avenue during rush hour.
City Councilperson Joel Cruz, Jr., State Representative Brandon McGee, and State Representative Edwin Vargas were present to show their support, as were nine elected officials representing districts outside of Hartford. Sean Scanlon, the Director of Community Affairs for Chris Murphy read a statement of support for the workers on behalf of the U.S. Senator; Senator Richard Blumenthal‘s Outreach and Research Aide, Riju Das, did the same.
32BJ SEIU says it has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against SOS Security, alleging illegal surveillance of its employees. The union claims one of the security officers was threatened with job loss for participating in union activity. In May of 2012, there was a one-day strike by 32BJ SEIU further down on Capitol Avenue.