U.S. Security Associates Fires Marine After He Voices Support for His Union
Today a grateful nation honors its Veterans. But in its treatment of one New Jersey veteran, U.S. Security Associates has not.
For Newark security officer Daniel Pereira, Semper Fidelis, “Always Faithful,” is more than just a motto. It’s a way of life.
After 15 weeks of training as a United States Marine, Daniel learned the meaning of the famous Marine Corps motto along with the core values — including justice, dependability, integrity, initiative, unselfishness, and knowledge — that make a U.S. Marine.
Then he put those values to the test in Iraq.
Daniel came home after 13 months of serving his country. Like other returning service men and women, Daniel ran into a problem. What kind of job was he coming home to?
“I got a job with U.S. Security Associates,” he says. “It was the best thing I could find.”
At USSA, Daniel was paid just $9.25 an hour. “For healthcare, I kept my veterans’ benefits,” he says.
In April of 2011, Daniel made contact with a representative of the Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ. “I liked what they had to say,” says Daniel. “I was especially interested in the training program that the union established in New York.”
That a Marine would put emphasis on safety training is not surprising. But Daniel, who grew up in the close-knit, working-class community of Ironbound, was also interested in the quality of jobs available to his coworkers and neighbors. “Pay raises, medical coverage, dental coverage, access to legal services, all of these things are important for working people,” he says.
Daniel began to attend meetings with other Newark security officers about forming a union. With his Marine sense of integrity, he did not keep his support of his union a secret. “I spoke with my coworkers about the union by phone and I spoke with two of my supervisors about it several times,” he says.
On July 15, 2011, Daniel was fired.
“I had no disciplinary issues whatsoever prior to my termination,” he says. “They told me that somebody had complained about me for not greeting people and not smiling. I told them that was weird because I work at night, when the building is mostly empty.”
Daniel has filed an official complaint of Unfair Labor Practices with the National Labor Relations Board, which is now investigating USSA.
As the Marine awaits the results of the investigation, perhaps USSA — which uses patriotic imagery as a commercial tactic — should adopt a new motto, Nunquam Fidelis, “never faithful.”