EMTs, security guards carol for better treatment downtown Detroit

Contract security officers for buildings in downtown Detroit went caroling for higher wages and better treatment on the job Friday.

"You treat your workers so disgusting," some employees sang to the tune of Deck the Halls. 

The march is part of the group's Stand For Security campaign. Emergency medical technicians and security guards say they want to send a holiday message to their employer SecurAmerica that changes are needed.

"They are not acknowledging a union," said Michael Fortenberry.

Fortenberry said he works as an armed guard for SecurAmerica and said he and his coworkers believe a union will help them get better wages and job training and more equipment to do their jobs effectively.

"If something happened my only option is to refer to that lethal weapon. We should have steps before we get to that, but we have nothing," he said.

Outside the SecurAmerica offices in downtown Detroit, City Council Member Janee Ayers, who says she comes from a union background, took the mic to lend support.

"When we talk about oh I love seeing Detroit, and I love seeing downtown come back well it's because you feel secure because you see all these security guards you know if you pass out there will be an EMT, maybe there on the spot. That's why it's so important that we make sure we take care of the people taking care of us," said 

These workers say they plan to rely on a powerful voice in Congress for help.

"I say zero dollars to corporations without them demanding that we have collective bargaining union jobs in our city," said Rashida Tlaib, congresswoman-elect for 13th Congressional District.

In response to a protest by building security workers employed by SecurAmerica today, the company has issued the following statement: 
"SecurAmerica is proud to employ more than 360 security officers who work to ensure the safety of nearly 100 properties in downtown Detroit. While we respect our associates' right to protest, SecurAmerica prides itself on providing a fair and respectful work environment with a quality and competitive compensation package and opportunities for advancement for all our associates. The company is committed to constant improvement and will continue to engage directly with our associates on any issues they may have," said SecurAmerica Vice President for Human Resources Suzanne Fountain. 

But Fortenberry says the workers can't get the company to talk with them.

"At the very least talk to us. We are here, we are willing to talk. They're not coming out and talking to us," he said.