Wednesday, August 6, 2008

DAILY PENNSYLVANIAN: Penn demands reinstatement of Allied guards

Issue date:

Transferred guards to launch multi-city tour to highlight union efforts

Dean Dennis

The five AlliedBarton security guards who were transferred after petitioning President Amy Gutmann in an effort to unionize will soon be embarking on a multi-city tour to bring attention to their plight.

The tour, which will begin Wednesday and last at least three weeks, will include stops at Harvard, Temple and Georgetown universities, according to Service Employees International Union spokeswoman Ingas Skippings.

The five Penn guards were transferred after submitting a petition to Gutmann -- AlliedBarton has called it inappropriate contact with a client. However, a similar attempt by Temple guards did not meet with the same fate.

The guards have recently gained some ground with Gutmann.

Penn's president announced that the University is committed to ensuring that the security guards are treated fairly. She added that it was a priority of hers to hear about their unionization efforts.

To this end, Penn has obtained assurances from AlliedBarton Security that the guards will be offered their former positions at Penn with back pay.

Penn Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli will speak with AlliedBarton to determine whether the guards working on campus "are being paid ... at market-competitive rates," Gutmann said.

"I've thought about this just a lot and figured out what the right response should be," she said. "I believe we're taking the action that's consistent with the principle that we want to have all of our employees treated fairly."

George Darrah, 60, one of the AlliedBarton security guards who were transferred, called the assurances the company gave to Penn a step in the right direction.

However, he said that AlliedBarton needs to do more: "They still have to do something about the suffering they put us through."

Darrah said that measures should be taken to ensure that a similar situation does not occur again in the future.

Although he does not blame Penn for the incident, he said that the University should require that all of its employees -- whether hired directly or subcontracted -- be treated fairly.

AlliedBarton spokesman Larry Rubin was unavailable for comment last night.

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