Independence Hall private guards vote for union

Posted: September 13, 2007

Private security guards who have protested what they call poor working conditions at Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell voted yesterday to unionize.

The Wackenhut Services Inc. workers voted, 31-2, to join the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, district organizing coordinator Jeff Hornstein said. Fifteen guards did not vote. The election was held at a community hall a few blocks from Independence National Historical Park, which is also protected by the National Park Service.

Wackenhut did not recognize workers' two previous attempts to unionize, Hornstein said. Marc Shapiro, senior vice president at Florida-based Wackenhut, said in order for the balloting to be valid, it must follow standards set by the National Labor Relations Board. "If it is an election that is sanctioned by the NLRB, we would certainly support it," Shapiro said.

The meeting was attended by U.S. Rep. Bob Brady (D., Pa.), who promised to ensure that the company improves conditions for workers "protecting our national treasures." - AP

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