A few days before thousands of Swedish caregivers went on strike, the hospital hired "tactical" security guards equipped with body cameras to "protect our caregivers and community" during the demonstrations, according to an email sent to workers.
To get the job done, Swedish hired MADI Corps, a company that specializes in providing extra security during labor disputes. One big problem: the Washington Department of Licensing (DoL) doesn’t list MADI Corps as a security guard company with a license to operate in the state. The state’s Department of Revenue doesn’t list them either.
State law requires security guard companies and individual security guards to obtain a license in Washington. Moreover, according to a spokesperson for the DoL, MADI would need to be licensed in the state even if it were staffing the strike with independent security guards who were licensed in Washington.
Washington requires armed and unarmed security guards to fill out an application, pay a fee, and undergo 8 hours of pre-assignment training in order to obtain a license.
It is possible that the company obtained a license under another name, but a representative from MADI Corps declined to comment on this story.
Swedish did not respond when asked for comment either, but I'll update if I hear back.
Caregivers report hearing the hospital hired as many as 200 guards, but Swedish hasn't responded to multiple requests to confirm that number.
Aside from simply not wanting to run afoul of the law, Sandi Davies, director of the International Foundation for Protection Officers, said obtaining a license is important because security guards are often the first responders to a conflict, and "they need to have the educational background to fulfill their duties." Some companies, she added, don't provide any training at all, which "could put the security guard and the people they're hired to protect in danger."
Not sure how hiring an unlicensed security firm demonstrates Swedish's commitment to "protect our caregivers and community," but there you have it.