Union alleges private security firm owes airport workers nearly $1M

Updated: Oct. 10, 2019 at 9:17 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of private security and traffic control officers at Honolulu’s five major airports are seeking nearly $1 million in back raises from private firm Securitas.

The union — the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America, Local 650 — has filed an unfair labor practice complaint and is asking a judge to uphold a labor arbitrator’s July ruling ordering the back pay.

“Our members are very upset. All they wanted to do is to have Securitas deal with them in a fair way," said Rodney Kim, the president of the local.

Kim said the union’s collective bargaining agreement requires Securitas to match the raises that the state has given to the state deputy sheriffs that work at the airport since January 2018.

Securitas officials argued in legal filings that the union and the arbitrator are misreading the contract.

The wage dispute is just the latest controversy surrounding Securitas, whose $43 million-a-year state contract is believed to be the largest contract of its kind in Hawaii.

Three years ago, several Securitas guards pleaded guilty to taking bribes from taxi drivers.

A Securitas officer’s shooting of a traveler’s pet dog in 2017 also brought public outrage, as did Securitas’ tendency to hire troubled former police officers.

State Rep. Troy Hashimoto said it might be time to hold public hearings on Securitas’ work at the airports.

“The bottom line is when a company does business with the state, they must fulfill their contractual obligations. That’s really what is critically important," he said.

Securitas officials could not be reached for comment.

State Transportation Department officials have defended Securitas’ work, saying it’s less expensive to hire the private security company than use state sheriffs at the airports.

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