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Petition Prompts Search to Protect DC Public Schools

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Washington, DC Mayor plans to terminate U.S. Security Associate contracts and and put the company's contracts covering many DC public schools out to bid.

WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 29, 2012 -- The Gray Administration plans to terminate U.S. Security Associate's $41 million contracts to protect DC government buildings and put the company's contracts covering many DC public schools out to bid. Gray inherited the Fenty Administration contractor, U.S. Security Associates, which failed at least 23 weapons inspection tests since 2009. Additionally, the company has been fined at least 118 times for violations on security and contract requirements at city government buildings.

"Mayor Gray is doing the right thing by getting rid of this bad actor to ensure taxpayers get more responsible protection at public buildings," said Jaime Contreras, Capital Area Director for 32BJ SEIU. "He understands we must do better to keep our children and the public safe."

32BJ of the Service Employees International Union represents 1,500 private security officers who safeguard District offices and educational institutions.

U.S. Security, which has a long history of lawsuits, investigations and failed weapons penetration tests, has lost 11 accounts in the last year in several states. In addition, at D.C. government buildings guarded by U.S. Security:

  • Enter with a cell-phone bomb;
  • Enter with a simulated pipe bomb;
  • Enter with a simulated metal gun;
  • Drive in restricted areas;
  • Smuggle in a simulated explosive hidden in a book

Concerns about U.S. Security have been mounting for at least a year and a-half. The Fenty Administration brought in U.S. Security to replace Hawk One at DC public schools after the former city contractor folded in 2010. When problems continued under U.S. Security, then-City Council Chairman Vincent Gray and the full Council signed a letter saying U.S. Security is "putting the safety of our city and residents at risk" in August 2010. They urged the Fenty Administration to "not allow this company to continue benefiting from taxpayer-funded, multimillion dollar contracts."

More than 700 parents of children in D.C. public schools signed a petition demanding that the City replace U.S. Security with a company that can provide their kids with reliable protection.

With more than 120,000 members in nine states, including 15,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.



SOURCE Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ

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