Union Security Officer Encourages others to Stick Together – Respect, Equality, Better Pay & Job Security
Jamila Culcleasure was born and raised in Seattle, where she currently lives near her parents and siblings. In high school, she would spend time with the local school security officers—talking about their role in service and safety. That led to her joining the local Police Explores Club—a youth program designed to educate teenagers interested in law enforcement and related fields.
She fell in love with the values–respect, equality–and it led to her current job as a security officer.
Jamila’s been an officer for six years now and protects one of the world’s most successful social media companies. “I absolutely love my job. I guard the front desk, secure company events and make sure our equipment is up to code,” she says.
She is also part of a strong officer union—SEIU 6–and the growing Stand for Security movement with more than 60,000 security officers nation-wide. The aim is to raise standards across the industry–including increasing pay, benefits, job security and training programs for all officers–white, Black & brown.
“I love being part of the union. My pay increased by more than $3 dollars,” she says. “I don’t have to work two full-time jobs anymore just to keep up with bills. I have one well-paid job. I have job security. So I have time to care for my family and to get back into hobbies I used to do, like hiking.”
It wasn’t always this way for her. She used to work for a non-union company. Jamila and her co-workers saw many issues on the job–including lack of cost-of-living raises, favoritism and unfair treatment around gender, race and religious practices.
With its booming economy, Seattle is an expensive city. When she worked at a non-union company, Jamila says things were hard for her too. On what the non-union company paid, she couldn’t afford to get sick. She worked as much over-time as she could to help with bills. And she had to live almost two hours from her job site just to afford rent. She felt alone.
“Things improved when I joined the union. It makes things easier. Officers have each other’s back and we are treated fairly,” Jamilia says. “I have paid-time-off and more benefits. If I have a problem, I have a way to solve it, thats job security.”
Right now Jamila has applied to join the Seattle Police Department—her lifelong dream. In the meantime, she encourages any officer out there to join the union. “For all the security officers out there, don’t be afraid to join the union. We are here to help protect and fight for our fellow officers. If you are being unfairly treated, if you need something, we are here for you,” she says.