2,000 SEIU Local 26 security officers declare one-day strike today [UPDATE]

SEIU security officers set up a public picket line outside the Wells Fargo Center around 7 a.m.
SEIU security officers set up a public picket line outside the Wells Fargo Center around 7 a.m.
via Kate Brickman

At 6 a.m. this morning, the 2,000 security officers of the local Service Employees International Union declared a one-day strike, and began marching outside the Wells Fargo Center in downtown Minneapolis.

See Also:
- SEIU Local 26 janitors win contract, but security officers end negotiations and prepare to strike
- To prepare for strike vote, SEIU teams up with Rogue Citizen to throw an art show

Talks for the security officers with seven employers broke down on Friday afternoon, despite the officers' weekend strike deadline.

At 4 a.m. today, after 14 hours of emergency bargaining, security officers struck a tentative deal with one of those employers, St. Paul-based American Security. The officers will strike against the other six security firms  -- G4S, AlliedBarton, Securitas, Viking Security, ABM Security, and Whalen -- who have not yet reached an agreement. Those companies subcontract with major corporations such as Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and Target.

"Going on strike is a huge sacrifice - none of us want to do this," said Kevin Chavis, a security officer subcontracted by AlliedBarton for Wells Fargo Center, in a statement released by SEIU before 5 this morning. "But it feels like if we don't act, there's not going to be any middle class left. All Minnesotans need fair wages and affordable health care for our families. As a Minnesota company, American Security was able to step up and take care of Minnesotans - the others should follow their lead."

Members of SEIU Local 26 have been without a contract since January 1, and on February 9, voted to authorize a strike. On Saturday afternoon, the 4,000 janitors in the union reached a tentative deal for a new three-year contract, and avoided a strike similar to the one now facing the security officers.

Security officers will picket at the Wells Fargo Center, as well as other locations in the metro, throughout the day.

Occupy Homes has announced a major event this afternoon as part of the "Week of Action" with SEIU workers.

At 3 p.m., Occupy supporters, along with Neighborhoods Organizing for Change and a coalition of community organizations, will gather in the Central neighborhood and march to a vacant home nearby, which is owned by Wells Fargo. Earlier this week, Occupy Homes rallied to fix up the home, earn support from neighbors, and help Jessica English, a newly-homeless mother of four, move in.

The group will then march up to the Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Center at 27th St. and 5th Ave. S. and join striking security workers. They plan to bring with them 20 bags of trash they cleared from the blighted house, and ask the bank to donate the property to a non-profit for affordable housing.

Brother Ali is scheduled to perform at 4:30, and activity will continue all afternoon.

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