“U.S. Security is the most unprofessional company I have ever worked with!”
-Security Official, Delaware Courts
Daimler Trucks of North America received public funding, to the tune of $20 million in state and local assistance, to construct their headquarters building, completed in 2016. As part of the agreement, Daimler committed to create good jobs for their employees. It appears that they’ve followed through with those commitments, at least for their direct employees. The agreement left out any requirements that workers who clean and secure Daimler’s headquarters, employees of service contractors, also enjoy good jobs.
In the case with Millennium Building Services, the company Daimler contracts with to perform janitorial services, Daimler appears to ignore concerns raised about job quality. Millennium employees report struggling with poverty wages, lack of access to affordable health insurance, and denial of legally-required benefits like earned sick leave. In response to a letter raising serious concerns about service contractors at Daimler, the company’s representative responded with stunning indifference: ”If you have issues with another company, I would suggest that you contact a representative of that company.”
In the case of their security contractor, US Security Associates, Daimler appears to maintain the same approach. From California to Oregon, Nevada, Texas and more, US Security Associates (USSA) and related entities have been the subject of more than 50 federal and state lawsuits—including poor performance and wrongful death—since 2000.
While US Security denies many of the allegations, a substantial proportion of these charges were settled before a verdict was reached. The sheer number of allegations and cases filed against USSA raise distressing questions about U.S. Security’s ability to ensure security officers are working in a safe environment:
- The State of Delaware did not renew USSA’s contract to provide armed security for seven state courts. Despite frequent warnings regarding employee ‘no shows’ at public buildings and being placed on probation, the problems with USSA persisted until the State of Delaware chose not to renew the contract. In one telling example, a U.S. Security Associates Supervisor told a court Deputy Chief of Security “it’s not my fucking problem.” Further, in violation of their contract with the state, USSA officers worked double shifts and bills from US Security to the state did not match log books According to a security official at the Delaware courts, “S. Security is the most unprofessional company I have ever worked with!” Court staff further requested “a security company that will at the least show up on time or better yet show up.” (2011)
- In 2016, John Lopez filed a lawsuit against USSA and the GAP claiming he was falsely accused of shoplifting and was “violently knocked down, injured, detained, and arrested / imprisoned” by USSA personnel. Lopez asserts he had no merchandise on him and USSA did not call the police until after he was injured. Lopez states he sustained serious and permanent injuries including “fractured clavicle, shoulder injury, five fractured ribs, traumatic pneumothorax, pulmonary collapse, traumatic pleural effusion, and bilateral atelectasis.” The parties notified the court a settlement agreement had been reached.
- In Texas, in a federal lawsuit against USSA and Fiesta Mart, Vincent Reed alleged false imprisonment, deprivation of civil rights and negligent hiring, supervision and training by USSA personnel when he was shopping in a grocery store. Reed alleged he was “the only African-American in the store, and Defendants singled out, confronted him, and restrained him even though he was not guilty of shoplifting.” A settlement agreement between Reed and USSA / Fiesta Mart was reached.
- In California, Police investigated a 2011 shooting that occurred after a bank robbery where USSA personnel shot several rounds into a parking lot that was “fairly packed” with passersby and vehicles as the suspects were fleeing the scene. A spokesperson for the police department noted that it was “very unusual for a guard to shoot at suspects” and that he could not remember any previous bank robbery where an armed guard fired at suspects.
Janitors, security officers, and their allies call on Daimler to choose a responsible contractor for both security services and janitorial services. Responsible contractors commit to meeting area standards in terms of wages, benefits, and job quality, as well has having tried and tested dispute resolution systems in place to respect employee rights. For a list of responsible contractors in the Portland area, visit www.RaiseAmericaPDX.org/responsible.