Philadelphia University security guards protest pay, scheduling

When Kami Vincent signed on as a security guard at Philadelphia University, she says that the contractor she works for, McGinn Security, told her she would regularly work 40 hours a week.

That regular schedule hasn’t happened yet.

“Some weeks, I’ll get 10 hours,” she says. “Some weeks, I’ll get 40 hours. Some weeks, I’ll get eight hours.”

“It’s based on their need for me, which tends to be up and down because of their overhiring practices,” she said.

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About 50 security guards at the school in East Falls have complained about their treatment by McGinn. Saying they can’t survive on low pay and irregular hours, the guards staged a protest last week at the Franklin Institute while a Philadelphia University alumni function was taking place inside.

Vincent says she is always on call, but gets no benefits. Older employees say they took a $3 pay cut not long ago when the university switched from a previous contractor, Allied Barton, to McGinn.

SEIU 32BJ, the service employees union, is working to organize the guards. It submitted a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board claiming McGinn interfered with its attempt to organize, including barring employees from talking to the media.

The union also says the Department of Labor has cited McGinn in the past for paying employees less than minimum wage.

The Department of Labor was unable to confirm the sanctions at this time. Philadelphia University and McGinn did not return requests for comment.

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