Who cares about guards (and their wages)?
Date: 03.09.2016
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I don’t know where to start, maybe someone can help.

I have been in this industry for coming up to 12 years, and I am yet to see any security association putting up a meaningful campaign to raise guard wages, or at least raising the professional profile of the guard….ASIS, IAHSS, IFPO and others…as the top echelons of the industry gear up for the ultra-posh, suit-and-tie ASIS 2016 Seminar in Orlando (entrance fee is $895 if you’re an ASIS member – hotel, flights, meals are all extra – probably all paid by the employer), the struggle of Ontario’s security guards to afford new backpacks for their kids this September, surely continues.

I started as a guard at a slaughter-house back in 2005, at a time when guard licenses (and basically the guards themselves) were owned by the companies they worked for. A few years later, after Shand got implemented (google Patrick Shand), the industry changed, and guards became owners of their own licenses, and were given greater freedoms to choose employers, pick up contracts, receive standardized training, and form professional associations. There was a lot of hope for greater political presence, and standardized wages for the profession.

So this was all good, except for this: The guards were, and continue to be – too poor, too overworked, too skeptical, too scattered, and too unaware of their importance and size to form any meaningful association that would advocate for the profession across the province….makes sense when you are supporting a family for (what are we up to now…11.85?).

Look at how many child care workers’ associations there are out there – they are strong, they fight for wages, and they get wage increases. Look at Elevator workers, Electricians, etc. etc. It seems that every trade that carries licensing, testing, and training requirements has a strong association representing it.  Except for guards.

The trouble is – there ARE associations in Canada that represent security (see Para 1), but somehow, the guards (which by the numbers form the majority of the industry) seem to be excluded from the glitz & glamour of the seminars, the events, the speaker’s nights, the conventions, etc.

Here is a list of the industry groups which ARE being catered to:

  • Directors of Security
  • Chief Security Officers
  • Police Officers and Emergency Service Personnel
  • Women in Security
  • Young Professionals
  • Security Systems Integrators and Technicians
  • Security Training Providers
  • College/University students of Criminal Justice programs
  • Emergency and Continuity Managers
  • Operational Managers

(Are we missing anyone?)

While the initiatives to bring more Women and Students to the industry and give them voice & platform are commendable, they ultimately fail at capturing the attention of most young, and female guards. Had they been successful, the audiences in conventions would have been packed with guards. Simple as that.

What I believe the industry needs, is to add the following line to the above list, and place it at the very top:

  • guards, mobile operatives, and field supervisors

because right now, the only attention guards get from associations, is that of a token guard being given an award for some act each year – part as a token of good will, part for the top brass to muse on the good old days, and part to prove to themselves that “see, we are recognizing them!”

Them, taking that certificate home, cannot exchange it for a backpack.

Them need change.

Them need meaningful representation, and them need help organizing so that them can get better pay province-wide.

I am looking for your thoughts on how we can better represent those in uniform who report to us.

 

 

 

Safe shift to those reading this in lunch-rooms and taking a cigarette outside the loading dock tonight, and please – come up with ideas of how you would like to be represented. This is your industry, and you are its biggest segment.

Alex Goldstein

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