U.S. Marine Warren Reed at ASIS 2013 in Chicago: “A good job is the very least we can do for veterans in the security industry.”
Los Angeles security officer Warren Reed takes every chance he can to help other people.
That’s why this week the former Marine is in Chicago, urging attendees of the ASIS 2013 security industry convention to support good jobs for 200,000 American veterans now working as security officers.
“When they’re asked, veterans give up so much, without question,” Warren says. “A good job is the very least we can do for veterans in the security industry.”
Warren thinks veterans make good security officers because of the basic training they go through in the Armed Forces.
Having served his country in the United States Marine Corp for eight years, he should know. But despite the number of veterans in the industry–one in five security officers are vets–Warren thinks there should be more training.
Since joining SEIU-United Service Workers West in 2011, Warren has seen wage increases of $2.40 per hour, more paid time off, and much better healthcare than he used to have. The gains inspired him to help other security officers form unions with SEIU, especially in Portland, Ore.
“I’ve taken part in a lot of actions since joining the union,” Warren says. “But the most important thing I’ve done is help Portland security officers form their union. I had the chance to help someone else.”
Indeed. Thanks to Warren and others, last May 450 Portland security officers won a three-year contract that includes yearly wage increases; an affordable, employee-share healthcare plan; paid holidays; vacation pay (dependent on years of service); and contract language that improves job security and respect on the job.
Now Warren is turning his attention toward his fellow vets. Record numbers of veterans are facing unemployment, homelessness, disabilities and mental health issues when they come home. Vets working in security often face low wages, poor healthcare, unpredictable schedules, and little or no paid time-off.
By teaming up with other veterans and fighting for good union jobs in the security industry, Warren is looking out for others–and his country. “America has asked so much of these men and women,” he says. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Warren says he and other security officer veterans–of the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force–are getting a positive reception at the premier conference of an industry where one in five officers are vets.
“You’ll find a lot of people who support veterans here,” one attendee said. “Half of these folks are vets.”
Let’s hope that sentiment translates into good jobs–for vets and for all security officers.