Gaylord security officers win first union contract

Oxon Hill, MD –A five-year contract has been reached between the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center and 32BJ that provides significant improvements in wages and benefits for 71 private security officers who keep guests, employees and visitors safe and secure.

“As a community activist who fought to ensure that workers have the ability to organize for collective bargaining rights at Gaylord, I am proud to see the end result of better wages and reduced health care costs for workers and their families,” said Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-MD). “We must continue to support unions like 32BJ SEIU who are committed each day to represent and protect the interests of workers and their families. I want to commend the Gaylord Corporation for leading at National Harbor and I hope others recognize, as Gaylord does, that providing for workers is good business.”

Effective December 1, 2009, some officers will receive a raise of up to $5.25 per hour, increasing hourly wages for those officers from $14 to $19.25 over the life of the contract. Many officers will also see a 90% reduction in their annual health care contributions, saving them on average over $2,000 per year over the life of the contract. In addition, Gaylord will match their contributions to the 401K plan by up to 5 percent of officers’ salary.

“Now I can pay more towards my kids’ school tuition and put more gas in the car, it really makes a difference,” said Ivan Thompson, a father of four from Fort Washington, MD who has worked as an officer in the hotel industry for 15 years. “We are grateful to have job security and respect with the union. The union has our backs just as we have each other’s backs.”

Over the life of the contract, officers can earn up to two times the prevailing rate for overtime on the seventh day consecutive day of work. Additionally, the agreement provides officers with six sick days, up to four weeks of vacation and increases paid holidays from nine to 11 days by 2011.

“This contract will help security officers move out of poverty, it’s the kind of boost that more working families need in Maryland and throughout the nation,” said Jaime Contreras, 32BJ District Director. “Giving more men and women the opportunity to realize Dr. King’s dream is the American Dream.”
With more than 120,000 members in six states, including 15,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.