LOS ANGELES-Some of L.A.’s largest office landlords and the union representing local security guards both say that they hope to sign a contract that will mean higher wages and family healthcare for the security officers. The building owners include the Blackstone Group, Jamison Services and Maguire Properties.

The pact that the landlords and the Service Employees International Union are negotiating would be the first-ever union contract of its kind in Southern California, according to Stuart Korshak, labor counsel for Blackstone. Faith Culbreath, president of SEIU Local 2006 Security Officers United in Los Angeles, says that the building owners’ support for the deal with the security guards “should bring us a fair contract before the holidays.”

Paul T. Kim, president of Jamison Services, which owns 22 million sf of commercial office space in Los Angeles, says that although the contract will mean “some increased costs to us,” it will be worthwhile for the building owners. “We believe that these expenses ultimately add value for our investments and improve quality for our tenants,” Kim says.

According to officials representing the building owners and the security union, Beacon Capital Partners and Rreef have also sent letters to their security contractors indicating their support for raising security officers’ wages and benefits up to standard with other union contract service workers in commercial properties. Peggy Moretti, SVP at Maguire Properties, notes that Maguire is encouraging the BOMA chapter of Los Angeles and the SEIU in the same way that they have done in negotiations for other building services.

Two of the biggest firms providing security for the building owners are Universal Protection Services and ABM Security Services, which are among the security contractors that are in negotiations for the pact. The contract will cover 4,000 security officers who work in hundreds of high rises and commercial properties in Downtown L.A., Century City, Mid-Wilshire, the San Fernando Valley and throughout the county.

Security officers have been organizing for more than five years to win higher wages and family healthcare, among other issues in the contract negotiations. The officers on average earn $21,000 a year and do not have affordable healthcare for themselves or their families, which are among the reasons cited for a turnover rate of up to 300% yearly among security officers–even greater than the average turnover rate of the fast food industry.

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