Philadelphia PA Oct 30 2010 A year ago, the largest group of private security guards stationed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art won what seemed to be an improbable victory.
Fighting against their employer, a Conshohocken company that is one of the largest security firms in the nation, the guards managed to win representation by a union that they had started themselves – the Philadelphia Security Officers Union.
A year later, the guards, who work for AlliedBarton Security Services, still don’t have a contract. Each side blames the other for the delay.
On Thursday, another group of museum guards working for a different company, Roman Sentry Security Systems, voted 9-3 to join the union.
The vote came two weeks after four union leaders were fired – they say because of their union activism.
“We’re supposed to be security officers, yet we are afraid,” said Juanita Love, who was a museum guard for five years. She said Roman fired her a few days after she spoke at a union rally Oct. 8.
Roman Sentry, of Philadelphia, would not comment on Love or the election.
AlliedBarton spokesman Larry Rubin said he couldn’t comment on personnel matters. Some of the four who were fired were AlliedBarton employees.
Union advocates say it is typical – and the National Labor Relations Act says it is illegal – for companies to try to erode support for a union by firing activists and leaders. Companies usually say they have a legitimate reason, such as tardiness.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, a city-related institution, has contracted out its security work since 1992. Formerly city employees who earned about $18 an hour, the guards now bring home $10.03 an hour.
Most of the guards, about 130, according to the union, work for AlliedBarton.
Local financier Ronald O. Perelman serves on the AlliedBarton board. The museum’s new annex, the Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman building, is named after his parents.
Love said she had been dismissed for abandoning her post on the day of the rally. She said that a supervisor had given permission for her to leave because the museum was overstaffed.
By: Brett Davis/Staff
PRIVATE OFFICER NEWS
A security officer on patrol of a shopping center discovered an active burglary and notified police.
Police were immediately dispatched and responded to the burglary on the 4900 block of Stevenson Boulevard on Thursday at about 12:30 a.m.
A security officer told police that he found the front door to the old Albertson’s supermarket open and a white utility truck parked to the rear of the business near an open roll up door, police said.
Arriving officers found copper piping in the back of the truck and more copper pipes stacked near the rollup door.
The shopping center was surrounded and an extensive search using police dogs was conducted, but yielded no suspects, police said.
The truck, a 1986 Chevrolet, was towed for evidence.
The case is being investigated, police said.
Dearborn MI Oct 30 2010 Police said an elderly security guard reporting missing early this morning has been located.
Lt. Patricia Penman said Pete Severt, 88, is a security guard at the Fairlane North shopping center.
He and the white 2008 Ford Escape security truck with a flashing yellow light he drove for Allied Barton Security were reported missing after he failed to meet a coworker at a midnight shift change.
The company patrols the shopping center at 5851 Mercury Drive near Ford Road and the Southfield Freeway.
Penman said Severt was located at an area hospital, but no other information was released.
His family asked for privacy, police said.
RENO, Nev. — A gunman who police said was about to be fired surrendered to police Friday after three employees were wounded in a possible retaliation attack in the Walmart store where the suspect worked, police said.
The move came after police negotiators spoke for two hours by telephone with the man identified as 45-year-old John Dennis Gillane.
Reno police Lt. Mohammad Rafqat said Gillane was taken into custody and will be charged with three counts of attempted murder. No shots were fired after the three victims were wounded shortly after 8:30 a.m., Rafqat said.
“I’m very happy he is out and the situation didn’t escalate,” he said. “We convinced him the best move was to surrender.” Rafqat said he did not know how many shots were fired or whether Gillane said anything at the time of the shootings.
“Today was going to be the day he was going to address his employment situation,” he said.
One of the wounded employees was a manager, police said. Police had not established a motive for the shooting but suspect it was related to the termination, Reno Deputy Police Chief Mike Whan said.
Chicago IL Oct 30 2010 Special agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) on Thursday arrested seven alleged members of a counterfeit document ring in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.
Jorge Castillo, 48, and Jorge Castillo-Arroyo, 24, father and son, were two of seven defendants who were arrested early Oct. 28. ICE HSI agents executed arrest warrants to dismantle the “Avers Crew,” which is comprised of several Castillo family members and allegedly made and sold fake identification documents in and around the area of 26th Street and Avers Avenue.
“Counterfeit identity documents, like the ones allegedly produced by this ring, can be used by criminals, enabling them to mask their identities and operate with ease in the United States,” said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Chicago. “Given the public security implications, ICE aggressively targets these kinds of document fraud schemes and shuts them down.” Hartwig announced the charges, which were unsealed today, with Patrick J. Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. The Chicago and Elgin police departments and the Drug Enforcement Administration also assisted in the investigation
Security guards chased the man into the parking lot where they tackled him and piled on top of his back, rendering him unable to breathe.
One security guard also placed him in a choke hold.
The local coroner described the death as a heart attack brought on by prolonged struggle and methamphetamine intoxication.
Plaintiffs retained renowned forensic pathologist, Michael Baden, M.D., who determined that he died from restraint associated asphixia caused by the security guards’ grossly improper conduct.
Montgomery AL Oct 30 2010 Mayor Todd Strange said Wednesday that the city simply is not able to grant workers’ compensation benefits to the family of injured police Cpl. David Brown.
The family filed a lawsuit against the city Tuesday seeking the benefits for the officer, who was critically injured when his motorcycle was hit by a car while he was escorting a funeral procession Sept. 11. Afterward, the ambulance carrying him turned over on the way to the hospital.
The lawsuit states that Brown’s duties that day were done “with permission, knowledge and approval of the City of Montgomery Police Department and were performed for the benefit of the department and citizens of Montgomery.”
Brown’s brother, Todd Brown, said Tuesday that the family wants the city to declare the police officer on-duty that day.
“We are hoping to get him the compensation he’s entitled to,” Todd Brown said.
Strange said that declaration is not possible because Brown was not working for the Police Department that day and had a private contract with the funeral home in which the city received no compensation. He said he would love to provide Brown and his family with workers’ compensation, but the city has to follow the law.
“I’d love to be able to say ‘yes’ (to the claim), but I don’t have that prerogative,” he said.
The lawsuit states that at the time of the accident Brown was earning $925 per week. It seeks “compensation and medical expenses and any other relief to which he is entitled under the workers’ compensation laws of the state of Alabama.”
Brown was using city equipment when the accident occurred, but Strange said that would not have an impact on the family’s claim. He said police officers take their equipment home with them in Montgomery, and state law allows for the use of police equipment while officers are working private, off-duty jobs.
The family’s attorney sent a letter to the city Sept. 30, asking for a review of its position regarding Brown’s workers’ compensation eligibility. The letter gave the city 10 days to respond. Brown’s brother said Tuesday that they had not heard back from the city since that time.
Strange said Wednesday he had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit, which was filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court.
Joey Ammons, assistant general counsel with the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations, specializes in workers’ compensation cases. He said the circuit judge has the exclusive discretion on whether to grant the workers’ compensation.
The lawsuit states Brown has suffered permanent disability, including “a broken jaw, cracked pallet, shaken baby syndrome, bleeding on the brain and multiple infections in his amputated limbs.” Since the accidents, he has undergone numerous operations, including the amputation of his right leg above the knee and his left arm above the elbow.
Brown was placed on medical disability retirement as of last week and will receive retirement benefits for the rest of his life, Strange said. The city also has paid for his additional leave time and all other available benefits are being extended to Brown, he said.
“We want to do everything conceivable under the law to help him,” Strange said.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
LONDON Oct 30 2010 – The discovery of U.S.-bound mail bombs on cargo planes in England and Dubai reveals the vulnerability of air shipping, which is governed by a patchwork of inconsistent controls that make packages a potential threat even to passenger jets, experts said Saturday.
Most countries require parcels placed on passenger flights by international shipping companies to go through at least one security check. Methods include hand checks, sniffer dogs, X-ray machines and high-tech devices that can find traces of explosives on paper or cloth swabs.
But security protocols vary widely around the world. Experts cautioned that cargo, even when loaded onto passenger planes, is sometimes lightly inspected or completely unexamined, particularly when it comes from countries without well-developed aviation security systems.
The fact that at least two parcels containing explosives could be placed on cargo-only flights to England and Dubai, one in a FedEx shipment from Yemen, was a dramatic example of the risks posed by the system, but the dangers have been obvious for years, analysts said.
One particular vulnerability: trusted companies that regularly do business with freight shippers are allowed to ship parcels as “secure” cargo that is not automatically subjected to further checks.
Even where rules are tight on paper, enforcement can be lax. A U.S. government team that visited cargo sites around the world last year found a wide range of glaring defects, said John Shingleton, managing director of Handy Shipping Guide, an industry information service.
“They walked into a warehouse where supposedly secure cargo was,” he said, declining to say where the site was. “Generally security is high, but if you think it’s perfect you’re kidding yourself.”
Cargo companies have long shipped on passengers airlines, for whom cargo provides extra income.
Mike Boyd, who heads an aviation industry consulting firm in Colorado, said cargo is often put onboard passenger flights at the last minute, similar to passengers flying on standby.
Britain’s Home Secretary Theresa May said the device discovered early Friday morning at England’s East Midlands Airport was viable — and could have been used to bring down a plane.
Cargo that travels through airports in countries with high threat levels and advanced security systems is often safer. The system at London’s busy Heathrow Airport is relatively effective because cargo is held for 24 hours, giving authorities time to check it properly, according to Shingleton.
Still, since August U.S. aviation officials have been pressing the European Union to require the X-raying of every package placed on passenger planes, but they have met resistance because of the cost and logistics involved in screening such a huge amount of material, aviation safety consultant Chris Yates said.
“Is it possible one of these devices could get on passenger jets?” Yates said. “I’m not convinced it could on flights between London and the States, but it could get on from less secure parts of the world, including the Middle East. If you talk to anybody senior at airports, they will tell you freight is the weak link in the chain.”
X-Ray machines are not an effective tool to screen bulk cargo because of the large size and number of the items that need to be inspected, said Philip Baum, editor of Aviation Security International, while more sophisticated technology, like gamma-ray machines, are extremely expensive.
“Security in the UK is pretty good, the U.S. is not bad, but aviation is a global business and we need effective regimes around the globe,” he said. “Cargo travels on both cargo-only and on combi-aircraft, which have passengers and cargo, and cargo is not subject to the same screening requirements as passengers’ baggage.”
Baum also warned that it is foolhardy to downplay the threat posed by cargo-only planes since those could be loaded with an explosive device that could be detonated when the plane is on its final approach over a major city.