By John Friia
Brenda Vauters has been a security guard at Credit Suisse for the past two years, walking around and canvassing the perimeter to ensure everything is in order.
This position requires that Vauters be outdoors most of the time, which is one of the aspects of the job she love because she gets to meet all kinds of people. In the event of an emergency, Vauters is the individual who lets the emergency workers into the building. There are also occasionally protesters outside of the building; when that occurs, she finds out why they are there are and makes sure nothing happens.
By creating a relationship with the people working inside the building, Brenda has quickly become one of the favorite workers, and everyone enjoys stopping to talk with her. “A lot of the workers are very nice, and I talk to them when they come outside to smoke,” Vauters said.
During the summer and winter months, she explained, one of the workers comes down and makes sure she has water when it is hot and a hat and scarf when it is cold, to keep Vauters from getting sick.
She is an active member of her union, the SEIU 32BJ, and has helped negotiate contracts for the workers. “I try to motivate workers to be a part of the union,” Vauters said. She wants them to be aware that the union stands behind the workers.
When she’s not working, Vauters volunteers at local shelters for the homeless. “I like to help people,” she stated. Near her work, Vauters sees a lot of homeless people; she tries to understand them and speak to them with care. Even though her job requires her to move the individuals for loitering, she gives them advice on where to go to stay dry in the rain.
In her personal time, Vauters enjoys spending time with her two children and six grandchildren, the oldest of whom just started college. “I also like going to museums—the Egyptian exhibit at the Met is my favorite,” Vauters said.
Whenever there are new security guards, Vauters is one of the first people to introduce herself and show them around. “I remember when I first started, and no one showed me around. I try to make things easier for them,” she said.
“Everybody loves Brenda,” explained Louis Griffin, a co-worker of hers. “She is the kind of person that puts a smile on your face when you are having a bad day.” Jokingly, he refers to Vauters as the mother of the group, the person who shares wisdom and the lessons she learned with others.
“When people have a problem, I listen to them and try to solve their problem,” Vauters said.
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