CHICAGO (WLS) -- DePaul University security guards held a one-day strike Tuesday to demand increased wages and benefits.
The non-union officers were joined Tuesday by students, faculty and other workers who want the university to use a responsible union contractor. The 15 guards who patrol the Lincoln Park campus are employed by Guardian Security.
"They are fighting for decent living wages, they are fighting for paid time off, affordable healthcare, basic retirement, all the things anybody doing this hard work keeping these students safe deserves," said Kevin Pietrick, of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1.
The officers said they are not making enough money and are being punished for wanting to be in a union. They are asking the university to hire a company that would treat workers more fairly.
In response, DePaul spokeswoman Carol Hughes said, in part: "Guardian's business operations and employment practices are independent from DePaul."
The guards even have the support of students.
"It is our tuition dollars that is going to pay for this contract, this contract that is taking advantage of people that are part of our community, our money our tuition dollars should go toward a responsible union contractor," said Alex Boutros, a DePaul senior.
Supporters of the guards said most of the other local colleges use union security employees, and even janitors at DePaul are part of a union.
In a statement, Guardia said: "Guardian Security, a well know family owned and locally operated security provider in Chicagoland for more than 42 years, would like to correct the inaccuracies about its wages and staff turnover at DePaul University as reported today. Our Officers assigned to DePaul receive wages that are significantly higher than the $11.00 per hour rate negotiated by SEIU for its members. Guardian can proudly report its workforce at DePaul is stable as the officers' average length of service is in excess of seven years. Guardian offers employees health insurance which is compliant with the Affordable Care Act among other benefits."
DePaul University security guards hold one-day strike