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Local union-backed wage protests expanded from food service workers to the private security industry on Friday (March 28), as SEIU United Service Workers West, a union representing janitors, security guards, and other property service workers released a report decrying low wages paid to security workers.

The union-sponsored study, Secure Good Jobs for All of San Diego, finds that private security guards in the San Diego region receive a median hourly wage of $10.78 with many reporting wages as low as $9.00, usually with limited or no access to benefits such as health care and paid sick leave. These figures are contrasted to other California cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, where unions have negotiated a pay floor of $12.55 with employer health benefits and accrued sick pay and vacation leave.

According to SEIU, raising the pay for San Diego's estimated 9,000 security workers to levels comparable to Los Angeles and San Francisco "would inject $244 million into the local economy and help reverse a recent trend of declining middle-class jobs in San Diego."

Democratic city council members Sherri Lightner, Todd Gloria, Myrtle Cole and David Alvarez joined union supporters in City Heights for the report's release and to announce the launch of a campaign to unionize local security guards.

Earlier this month, the Reader reported on another study that found nearly 40 percent of working households in San Diego made less than the minimum required to maintain self-sufficiency without relying on some form of government assistance.

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