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Beverly Hills News

Protestors Crash Oscar Nominees Luncheon
Posted by Shanna Holako on Feb 12, 2014 - 5:34:42 AM

BEVERLY HILLS—Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) protested the Oscar’s nominees luncheon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to bring attention to the irresponsible contracting practices of Security Industry Specialists Inc. (SIS), the organization that provides security at the Academy Awards.

SEIU’s spokesman Peter Feng told Canyon News that the union has spoken to a lot of the security officers that have worked for SIS and the response has ignited serious alarm.

“We are concerned by the Academy’s decision for a number of reasons,” says Feng. “The company’s practice of part-time employment pries in the face of the way the film industry works and is organized.”

Feng argues that the way SIS conducts business does not meet the standards of the film industry and furthermore, it negatively impacts the security industry as well.

“Many officers working SIS are employed on part-time only basis,” Feng continues. “Some are so poorly paid that they have to rely on food stamps and housing vouchers. [These practices are] widening the gap between rich and poor especially in California where more than 50 percent of security officers are African-American or Latino.”

The SEIU is claiming the SIS are employing methods that evoke economic disparity, which in turn lends to the ”˜inadequate training’ SIS is being accused of. Feng describes their business model as a threat to the stability of the work force when their employees contribute to a high turnover, an inability to keep experienced officers on the job.

“[SIS practices] contribute to the widening gap between rich and poor in our country,” says Feng.  “And in California, we feel that these practices negatively and disproportionally impact these communities of color. We feel very strongly that contracting SIS to oversee the security of the AA does not serve the AA very well.”

Canyon News attempted to contact SIS, but calls were not returned before print. Their website does dedicate a page to ”˜Union Facts’ where they describe their own interaction with the SEIU and detail SEIU’s ”˜Lies and Distortions’ compared to their ”˜Truth.’

“For three years, the SEIU has been unsuccessful in convincing SIS employees to join its union,” says the SIS website. “With zero success, the union now has turned to a campaign of lies and distortion aimed at SIS employees and clients.”

When Feng was asked about SIS’s recruitment claims he responded: “We are not out to organize or unionize SIS officers at all.”


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