Veteran fights for better pay for Silicon Valley security officers so that no one is forgotten
Mac Young is a proud United States Air Force Veteran—he followed in the footsteps of his six older brothers by enlisting and served almost 18 years active duty and the reserves. He was there in Desert Storm as an aircraft maintenance technician and resource manager—often wearing several hats and performing many tasks.
Mac is originally from Louisiana. He grew up with 14 brothers and sisters on a plantation where they sharecropped. They were a close-knit and hard-working family. “We worked together, played together, laughed together, and prayed together,” Mac says. His mom and dad instilled in them the will to get an education. “It was a hard time to be African-American and my parents wanted a better life for us kids. I graduated high school and ten days later I joined the Air Force. I wanted to see the world and serve my country. I wanted to make my parents proud.” With a broad smile, “Never had a bad assignment.”
Despite the hardships of supporting several different military missions and losing his brother due to Agent Orange complications after Vietnam, Mac said if he could do it all again tomorrow, he would. “I was and am willing to give my life. My will and determination came from mom and dad but I learned the importance of discipline and comradery in the military.”
Now Mac works as a security officer in Silicon Valley—home to some of the most successful and powerful companies in the world. “I love being an officer. I can bring the tenacity and training from my military experience and use it to observe, protect and serve this community,” Mac says.
But he is struggling to make ends meet. “At this rate, on what I make, I’m going to have to work until I drop. I worry about my future 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I don’t think I can ever retire unless things change,” he says.
And it’s why he is joining his fellow security officers and forming a union. “One thing I learned in the military—don’t go it alone. It’s why I believe in the power of unions. As officers, we can stick together and make things better,” Mac says. “With the low pay and lack of respect, I feel forgotten. My country asked me to serve, and I did. Now we need to step up and take care of each other. All security officers and Veterans deserve that.” he says.