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Who should pay for SO's TWIC card?

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  • Who should pay for SO's TWIC card?

    Anyone here work near ports?
    Do you have a TWIC card yet?
    If you do, Who paid for it?
    My situation....
    I work at a steel mill along the Mississippi River near New Orleans. In addition to having my state minimum required training as a unarmed SO I also need to keep my Emergency Medical Tech certification updated. I just payed $130 out of my pocket for a CPR/EMT Refresher course and will be sending off my renewal packet to the National Registry along with the fees that requires. My company doesn't pay anything for my EMT training. OK, I can deal with it. I knew that coming in.
    Every year we have inservice training on MARSEC. . Because the mill loads ships at it's dock on the river the Coast Guard and DHS requires us to have this training. It doesn't cost me anything so I don't have a problem with it.

    This week we were told by our Facility Security Officer (FSO) that the contract security guards (us), along with himself and several other mill employees, are going to have to obtain the new Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) cards that the Coast Guard and TSA will be requiring. More about TWIC at- .
    It requires an extensive back ground check and the card, good for 5 years, will cost eash of us $132.50. Of course the FSO and the other mill employees will have their card paid for by the mill. Ahh the benefits of being a member of the Steel workers Union.
    When the FTO and our Site Supervisor called our regional office in Baton Rouge to tell our company that we would need these cards we were told that the guards would be responsible for paying for their own cards out of their own pockets. The response from my supervisor was "Hell no."
    As I mentioned in another thread, he's bankrupt and moved in with his daughter. He's not going to pay another dollar to work at our sucky post for our sucky company. He also notified the Regional Manager that there was no way he was going to ask his guards, who are getting $8 an hour, to part with almost 2 days pay for this card.
    Horay for my Supervisor!!! The guy has been trying for 3 years to get us a pay raise and been shot down every time. He's standing firm on this.
    The Regional Manager tossed around the idea that maybe the guard company would pay for the cards, then deduct something like $30 a year for 5 years from the SOs paycheck. If we work the whole 5 years the debt is paid. If we leave before the 5 years we will have to pay off the remaining balance.
    My supervisor told our Regional Manager to either eat the cost, bill it to the client (the steel mill) or find him another assignment.
    We are required to have numerous licenses, certifications and training to work our security job yet we get paid the same rate as when the contract was signed in 2003. Now we are being told that we are going to have to pay for even more required paperwork.
    There are felons working in the mill and truck drivers who don't even have drivers licenses who drive within the facility. All of them make way more than any of the contract guards. As I mentioned in another thread, I've been updating my resume' (so has my supervisor) and it's beginning to look like there will be several of us leaving in early 2008. The requirement for us to pay for our own TWIC card would be the final straw for most of the SOs I've talked to this week.

    Discussion time. Comments, suggestions, praise or criticism please.
    Hospital Security Officer

  • #2
    Companies here in Memphis are throwing fits because they don't want to pay the TWIC fees, and are saying that the cards shouldn't be required of them, because they obviously check their workers.

    Basically, I expect that people who pay will be posted at places like that and people who don't will be fired or transferred. Few companies will pay, since the clients aren't paying.

    I do not, under any circumstance, expect the client to pay for the contractor (who they pay a large fee per man hour for 'everything,' that's the point of hiring a guard firm) to pay.

    Maybe new contracts that specify, yes.
    Some Kind of Commando Leader

    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law


    • #3
      There is no way you guys should be charged for this. Good job on your supervisors part for fighting the good fight.

      I am not versed in the job market where you are at, but is it so depressed that an $8 an hour job with a 100 mile round trip is the best thing out there? Do the bigger companies (Securitas, Allied-Barton) operate out of your area?

      You are a diligent officer and obviously read and write good english, which would put you heads and shoulders among a lot of the contract officer fare I see.


      • #4
        TWIC sucks!!!!!!!!

        I'm not talking about the cause or reasoning for having the process, I'm talking about the government mandated program, without the government providing funding for the program, or mandating that the company of the employee is responsible for paying the costs.

        I know the first thing that a company would say is that they don't feel they should pay for it because the employee they pay for could quit the next day and the company would be out the money.

        This could be handled in different ways. One way is for the employee to be charged for the remaining cost of the certificate, on a sliding scale, based on how much time they they did not work for the employer that paid for the certification for the five year period (if the employee worked for 3/5's of the five year period, then quit, the employee would be required to repay their employer 2/5's the cost of the certification.)

        I'm sure others on this forum could think of even better ways to keep this cost off the front line guard.


        • #5
          We are going through hell now with new licence BS in Sydney and it's a mess because some people renewed their licences only months before the new requirements came into play. 1 bloke at my recent course paid $1k US for his new training and update only to find he can still not work just yet.

          I am waiting for these ID systems to hit Australia and since most agencies supply baggage staff to the airlines - who is to say their background checks are sufficient and they are cleared once in a lifetime ? If the pay was increased to cover these additional requirements it would be considered just fine but if you had someone who was still earning the same amount even after these changes it would be a different story ?

          After our changes I can see many S/O's leaving the industry as someone working in an office or driving a truck can earn $20 US an hour and go home at the end of 8 hours with lunch break and no early / late starts.

          Here is one to consider - if some security companies are so cheap they cannot supply their staff with notebooks - why would they spend 15 times that amount on something needed for their staff ? Many people will question their careers with all these added costs.
          "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu


          • #6
            When did this TWIC stuff come into effect? I was a Port Security Officer and never heard anything about it.
            "Alright guys listen up, ya'll have probably heard this before, Jackson vs. Securiplex corporation; I am a private security officer, I have no State or governmental authority. I stand as an ordinary citizen. I have no right to; detain, interrogate or otherwise interfere with your personal property-... basically all that means is I'm a cop."-Officer Ernie
            "The Curve" 1998


            • #7
              Absolutely they either need to pay for it outright or give you raise. Like everyone else, I took my job knowing certain things like keeping my guard card and my firearms card and medical cards current would come out of my pocket. Now you're changing that calculation. Its got to be compensated for one way or another. A good company could say at the least "we'll pay this time for our current guards, new guards and recerts will be at the employees expense". Makes me wish I'd got the county job. They paid your training, your recerts, all uniforms etc. /sigh we can dream that contract companies will be that way one day.


              • #8
                Originally posted by BHR Lawson View Post
                When did this TWIC stuff come into effect? I was a Port Security Officer and never heard anything about it.
                Just came about within the past couple of years. After 9/11 TSA concentrated on securing the airports. Now they are working on locking down the waterways.
                Hospital Security Officer


                • #9
                  I know people say, "The government should mandate the company pay for the employee's TWIC card," but lets face it. The government doesn't mandate that a company pay for an occupational license or identification card for anything, does it?

                  This is just like the whole guard card thing.
                  Some Kind of Commando Leader

                  "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law


                  • #10
                    For my recertification with the new laws it cost me $300 or so US. Now that is not alot of money to me but to some blokes working 4 on 4 off that is 2 days pay plus the loss of a day's wages (we did it all over 13 hours straight). For me to go back from scratch, go through ALL my mandatory training and the like, I would be looking at $5k US minimum and with CPP courses running at $8k US and up - if I went back to CPP I would be looking at more money - hence why I will reduce my certifications - firearms is going to cost $2k US it has been predicted in 2008.

                    Like first aid - $100 US for 3 years, it was optional and you got paid a $3.00 US a shift allowance for it until it became compulsory and nothing was paid extra for it. No big deal but it's the little things chipping away at people who are basic wages to begin with. I do know many people will leave the industry if this continues as many are not scholars and just wish to work.
                    "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu


                    • #11
                      I'm here at work right now at the security desk plugged into a phoneline. Man, I forget sometimes how slow dial up is.
                      My SO partner just called a friend of her's who's at work as a contract SO at a chemical plant in Convent, La. The guard told her that the plant (Motiva) is getting the card for all for it's employees and is also paying for the cost of the cards for the contract security officers. If the guards lose or damage the cards the guards will have to pay for replacements out of thier own pockets but the initial cost of $132 is being paid for by the client.
                      I just found out about an hour ago when I got here to work that our company is planning to deduct the cost of our TWIC cards out of our pay over 6 pay checks. So about $20 every two weeks on payday. I guess I can handle it but as soon as my card is in my hand I'm updating my resume' looking for something else to do.
                      Hospital Security Officer


                      • #12
                        Job related expense...Tax write off....Keep receipts..


                        • #13
                          EMT, you need to find another employer brother.

                          Just reading your posts---the long commute, substandard pay for the level of certifcation and training you have, crappy details/assignments, and seemingly uncaring company/administrative staff would have had me looking for other employment a long time ago.

                          It seems that you enjoy the field of security work, but maybe you need to enter another field that will offer more pay and better working accomodations.

                          If there are no "good" security related jobs in your area and you are bound and determined to stay in the industry, maybe a move to another city or state.

                          CHANGE CAN BE GOOD SOMETIME FOR THE SPIRIT-AND WALLET!!!!!!!!!!


                          • #14
                            Yet another way the Government can nab money from the hardworking while the rich get richer.
                            -Protect and Serve-


                            • #15
                              Most importantly, you need to be able to live on whatever job you do. High costs of travel, longer travel times and crap money. What $11.00 US may be good for 1 bloke, it may be not so good for a bloke with a long commute and higher costs in his state.

                              Discussing this with another poster recently, I found so many people needing to work 60 hours a week just to survive. All these little costs like your guard cards, etc are added burdens and to some people they are 2 days nett wages which is alot of $$$ to them in their roles. Whilst these things are portable to move from job to job, like our industry in Australia - you are usually $1k US behind the 8ball before you even take your first shift.
                              "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu