In a recent episode at the University of Pennsylvania, five Allied-Barton guards were suspended and put on punishment assignments after petitioning university president Amy Gutmann for higher pay.
The guards were later reinstated upon the university's demands.
In a letter to the editor printed in The Daily Pennsylvanian, an Allied-Barton employee at the school wrote, "Security officers at UPenn repeatedly come and go and receive little training on how to do their jobs. Because our wages are so low, all of us have had a hard time supporting our families and have to work second jobs."
In some cases, the Allied-Barton guards were paid as little as $8 per hour, a wage below Philadelphia's poverty line of $9.28 hourly rate for a family of four.
At Georgetown University, Allied-Barton guards had a base pay of $9.77 per hour, well below Georgetown's mandated pay of $13 per hour for contracted workers' salary, even with benefits included.
Allied-Barton, the largest American owned security service company, grossed over $850 million in 2004 sales and employs over 37,000 people for more than 100 Fortune 500 companies.
The company's treatment of its employees has incited student petitions, protests and hunger strikes at several universities.
At some universities, such as Harvard and Georgetown, mandated wage floors guarantee reasonable pay even for subcontracted workers. In the case of Harvard, the university compensates for the shortfall between outsource company wages and the university wage floor.
Hopkins has no such wage floors for its outsourced services. Skrodzki declined to comment on the specific wages Hopkins will pay Allied-Barton.
(C) 2005 The Johns Hopkins News-Letter via U-WIRE