I’m a Security Officer and I was Disciplined for Accepting Help during Hurricane

 

My name is Ms. Lee Poole and I have been a security officer in Houston for the last 2 1/2 years. Currently, I am employed by Norred & Associates protecting George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

When Hurricane Harvey hit–dropping more rain than any other storm in the continental U.S.–I lost everything. My car and apartment were completely flooded and I had to evacuate by boat. 

Poole - use this photo eblast

Some of my friends and fellow airport workers heard about what happened during the storm, and offered blankets, pillows, prayers and even gift cards, to help me get through this trying time.

Knowing I had that kind of support from my community, truly touched me. I never asked for any of it, but they came together to help anyway. I am so grateful that my co-workers have each other’s back.

Soon after, I was formally disciplined by Norred management for accepting the help my community offered. I was shocked.   

To justify their actions, Norred cited a handbook policy concerning the acceptance of ‘gifts’ at the workplace.

But I don’t think this was about any policy.

I believe this is retaliation for speaking out about my working conditions.  I filed a wage theft complaint against Norred & Associates before Hurricane Harvey hit and then I spoke publicly about my complaint and my desire to form a union in my workplace. I spoke out for myself and for my co-workers at a wage theft panel alongside Texas Senator Garcia.  The next day I was disciplined.  That’s why I filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board against Norred & Associates.    

I spoke out because, since working for Norred, I do not believe I have not been properly paid for all the hours that I have worked—supervisors require me to arrive 30 minutes before my shift starts to attend a morning briefing, but I have never been paid for this time. This is also happening to many of my co-workers.

I love my job as a security officer, protecting my city and the people in it. But I don’t feel like my company cares at all about me, especially during this tough time.

I believe Norred & Associates should NOT discipline hard-working officers when friends and co-workers offer support during a natural disaster. I believe Norred should NOT retaliate against officers who speak up to resolve workplace issues. And finally, I believe Norred should pay their employees for ALL the hours we work.

As security officers, we deserve better treatment for the work that we do for our city.

Take a second to support us, and tell Norred to remove my discipline and pay their employees for all the time we work.  

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