Los Angeles area building owners tentatively agreed Wednesday not to block union attempts to organize local security guards, lifting the last big obstacle to the unionization of at least 5,000 guards in local office buildings, labor officials said.
The Building Owners and Managers Assn. of Greater Los Angeles agreed to remain neutral to overtures by the Service Employees International Union to the security guards, union officials said. The association also agreed to permit a "card check" organizing process under which owners recognize the union if a majority of employees sign pledge cards, the union said. Under those conditions, unions rarely lose.
UCLA professor Ruth Milkman, a labor historian, called the agreement "a very big breakthrough" that could embolden efforts to unionize security guards elsewhere in the country.
The organizing effort began in 2002 in Los Angeles, as part of an effort to organize security officers nationwide. The service employees union pledged to organize across the industry and win the acquiescence of all major security contractors and building owners before going forward.