The Gatekeeper

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Delphine Parson is a multi-talented woman. She’s been a school aide, traffic officer, family worker and is now a security guard at 1 Centre St., a municipal office building.

“She believes in giving back and helping out,” said husband Darnell Parson, who knew her growing up in Brownsville, Brooklyn. “If you want something done, she’s the one.”

As a member of the AlliedBarton Security Services team, Parson, 48, helped organize and bring 32BJ, the largest property-service workers union in the country, into her downtown building.

Delphine Parson was a driving force in bringing the union into 1 Centre St. Photo by Andrew Schwartz

Delphine Parson was a driving force in bringing the union into 1 Centre St. Photo by Andrew Schwartz

“She was one of the most vocal people behind getting us into the union, and that has made things a lot better,” said Mervin van Putten, Jr., who has worked with Parson for about a year.

Parson said she began working to bring in the union about a year and a half ago, shortly after she started her job at the building. Drawing on her experience as a shop steward—a liaison between workers and the union—at the Department of Education, she helped push for a contract that took effect in May, with the new rates kicking in on July 1. Today, Parson is again a shop steward for her co-workers.

“I love helping people,” said Parson. “If I promise something will happen, I keep my promise.”

Parson previously worked for AlliedBarton, doing security for the KeySpan Corporation in Brooklyn, and took a break when she got a job as a family worker at the Department of Education, where she had previously been a school aide. Today, her job entails screening people who enter the municipal building, which she said is especially suited to her personality.

“I’m a people person, and you get to meet a lot of different people,” she said.

That includes the occasional politician, like City Comptroller and mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, whom she remembers meeting.

Parson’s husband, who has witnessed her work, said he is impressed at how she handles the lines.

“It gets hectic sometimes, all types of situations arise,” he said. “But she is very professional.”

Charles Okai agreed that she’s a great resource as a colleague.

“She looks out for people and encourages you,” he said. “She is very approachable, and if you need help, she will give it to you.”

Beyond the workplace, Parson worked to organize a tenant patrol in the Williamsburg apartment building where she has lived since 1994. Each day after work, she sits watch for two to three hours.

“It operates seven days a week and we were even able to get cameras in the building,” she said.

Looking forward, Parson said she plans to stay in security, a profession she loves, and continue to “stand up for everybody.”

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