Union Rep Makes Sure Guards Are Secure, Too

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To Herbert, patience and friendliness are top virtues

By Felipe Cabrera

When it comes to doing her job well, Bettina Herbert believes patience is important. The St. Kitts native works as a security guard for Allied Barton at 75 Rockefeller Plaza. Dealing with people who are in a rush is part of the job description. She tells her coworkers that being patient and friendly are important.

Bettina Herbert, a security guard and shop steward at Rockefeller Plaza, says celebrities in the building seldom say “Hi.” Photo by Karl Crutchfield

“I just tell the officers: breathe. Do what you gotta do and not lose your temper. Breathe,” she said. “And be friendly. When they’re being rude, kill them with kindness.”

Herbert, who lives in Parkchester, previously worked for Guard Smart. After Guard Smart refused to honor a request for benefits, Allied Barton agreed to contract the employees at her former building. She understands why some of her former coworkers decided to stay with her former employer.

“They’d been with the other company so long,” she said. “They’re loyal to it.”

She switched to Allied Barton three years ago.

“We wanted to be a union site where we can get benefits,” Herbert said. “Where we can get health insurance.” She is currently working with 32BJ SEIU to create a contract for Spartan Security, which serves the New York Public Library. She does extra work for her union as a shop steward because she believes in taking care of her family.

“Security officers have been living in injustice for too long,” she said.

Herbert enjoys her job and representing her coworkers. She likes getting to know them better, making friends and offering advice about job-related issues. When someone has a complaint, she sits down with that fellow security officer and then mediates with her building’s security manager.

Since she began working in the Time Warner building, seeing celebrities has become part of her day-to-day routine.

“You know they don’t want to say ‘hi’ to you. They’re too famous,” she said. “I must say, though, you meet a few nice ones.”

Herbert used to return to St. Kitts each year, but for the last four years she has gone to Miami for Carnival. She’d like to visit both, but free time is scarce.

Herbert enjoys living in Parkchester with her boyfriend German Mayorga, a project manager for a building renovation company, and her two children, Shania, 14, and Dario, 16. She describes her Bronx neighborhood as quiet and likes the fact that she doesn’t need to venture far to get shopping done.

When she’s not working or taking Dario to baseball or Shania to her mentoring program, she enjoys shopping at Macy’s and watching her favorite shows, like CSI: Miami and House. And she likes spending time on Facebook, which she first started using seven months ago.

“A friend of mine kept harassing me to do it,” she said. “And I’m like, ‘I won’t do it.’ And now I’m addicted.”

Herbert is looking forward to spending time with her family at Christmas. She enjoys watching her children’s faces on Christmas morning.

“I mean you get time to spend with your family. You get lots of gifts. I’m a big kid,” she said. “And my boyfriend likes to play tricks on the kids. One year what he did was take and hide all the gifts.” Another year, he wrapped all the presents in tape so the gifts would be difficult to open.

“So every year we find something new to do with the kids.”

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