Frank Thornton, a union representative said in last week’s Temple News that when it comes to the possible unionization of Temple security guards who are now privately hired, “The University is basically staying out of the fight right now. That level of awareness on campus is not there yet.”
The fight is in reference to negotiations between security guards who claim they receive inadequate pay and insufficient benefits packages and their employer, AlliedBarton, which asserts that its company provides its employees with just the opposite.
A battle is likely to rage on in the coming months between the two groups, while the University will apparently be content with their state of neutrality, politely perching itself on a fence far away from important negotiations. But Temple students can not allow school administrators to overtly straddle this issue, because our collective safety depends on the outcome of this bargaining process.
The University must examine AlliedBarton’s training practices, which some employees have described as inadequate. If the company is at fault and is not supplying guards with essential preparation to protect students, then a union would only solidify mediocrity by maintaining a relationship with the company.
If employees are the ones skirting their duties by opting to chat on their cell-phones instead of checking IDs, then they need to be reprimanded, suspended or fired for not doing their jobs. Either way, there needs to be some level of accountability for the severe lack of serious doorway defense on this campus.
That doesn’t mean the University must institute a policy of hiring ID checking commandoes and neither is it a call for obstructing every backpack-toting student from entering Speakman Hall.
What the University needs to do is simply investigate where the fault lines are in the training process and decide who is responsible for repeated instances of lackluster security.
If Temple officials refuse to do so, they will be passing on an opportunity to rectify a manageable problem, evidently choosing to address the issue only when it gets out of hand.