Four Security Contractors, One Struggle: Working for a Real Solution in Silicon Valley

 

KalpanaMishra1croppedKalpana Mishra has protected the same warehouse for ten years. She has worked for four different security contractors in that time, and has only received one raise.

The single mother of two says her net pay is $1,400 a month, even though she works full time for Universal Protection Service (UPS). After paying $1,000 a month for the small one-bedroom condo she shares with her two college-age daughters, she has $400 left for all other expenses, including health insurance premiums.

Living on a shoestring budget, Kalpana has no savings in case of an emergency. She’s not able to afford routine maintenance on the apartment, either. “We need to replace the carpet, we need to paint. And treat the mold in the bathroom. But there is no money to do it.”

“I struggle for basic needs. I’m getting old, and have knee pain. My doctor says to eat healthy foods, like salads and fruit, but I can’t afford to buy these. The doctor also said to take supplements that I can not afford. I take Motrin to deal with the pain, because it’s less expensive.”

In the ten years Kalpana has worked as a security officer, she’s only taken one trip—when her father died. “I took three weeks off to go back home to India. When I came back, I was only paid for a week of the emergency travel. I wasn’t given enough paid leave to cover it, even after all my years of service. It didn’t feel good.”

“When you are earning so little, and a single parent, the little things really affect you. If I am sick, I have to push myself to go to work. Then I am sick and I make other people sick. Security officers should get sick pay.”

Working under four different security contractors in ten years, Kalpana’s situation has remained largely the same. That is why she joined with security officers at UPS and across Silicon Valley in forming a union that will raise standards across the industry.

Watch real estate decision-makers at CalPERS react to testimony by another UPS officer here. CalPERS is looking into concerns raised by security officers that UPS may not be in compliance with the pension fund’s responsible contracting policy.

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