Apartment building staff avoid threatened strike with raise deal


Doormen and other construction workers reached an agreement for a union contract on Tuesday, averting a possible strike.

According to the 32BJ-SEIU union, the workers will get the highest raise in their history, with wage increases totaling nearly 12.6% over four years and a one-time bonus of $3,000.

Wage increases, averaging 3.17% per year, still remain below the current annual inflation rate of 8.5% for the year ending March.

Meanwhile, landlords, as well as co-op and condo owners, have caved in on demands that workers start paying their health insurance premiums — which are 100% covered by employers — and waive a portion. of their paid leave.

“Brothers and sisters, we have a deal!” 32BJ-SEIU President Kyle Bragg said to cheers in a ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel in Midtown on Tuesday.

“After two years of our members being asked to give and sacrifice more of themselves than they ever have before, they deserve more in return for their service, not less,” he said. he declares. “And that’s the deal we made today.”

The agreement between 32BJ-SEIU and the Real Estate Advisory Board on Labor Relations came after more than a month of negotiations and a strike authorization vote approved by union members last week.

Some of the more than 550,000 residents who would have been affected by a strike had been warned of the potential disruption, with some buildings circulating sign-up sheets for volunteers.

Jobs announcement security jobs for replacement workers – with one company, Admiral Security Services, offering a $200 sign-up bonus, a 7-day MetroCard and an hourly wage of $21.

But the union made a show of force by flooding Park Avenue to rally last Wednesday, joined by supporters including Sen. Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) and Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Under the tentative agreement, workers are also entitled to a one-time bonus of $3,000, according to a statement from the union.

Union members will have to vote on the agreement to make it official.

“Courage and devotion”

The owners’ management group – which had previously described the restitution demands as “reasonable” – also celebrated the agreement.

“Our relationship is truly the gold standard of labor relations in this country,” Realty Advisory Board Chairman Howard Rothschild said during Tuesday’s announcement.

“We know how difficult the last two years have been for everyone, for our employees, for New Yorkers in general. And we’ve worked tirelessly together to create all sorts of arrangements to make things better for our workers – who are often not treated like workers, but are often treated like family.

At last week’s rally, workers observed a minute’s silence for the more than 170 people who have died from COVID, including 40 who were residential construction workers.

Workers at the 32BJ building rallied on the Upper East Side last week ahead of a vote to authorize a strike.
Claudia Irizarry Aponte/THE CITY

When announcing the deal, Bragg said its members had sacrificed their health to keep the building’s tenants safe, many of whom have started working remotely. At the start of the pandemic, workers carried garbage bags when personal protective equipment was scarce – and adapted to an influx of deliveries and other changes as tenants worked from home.

“They kept the buildings clean and sanitized,” Bragg said.

“The courage and dedication they showed was nothing short of amazing, making it possible for people to work remotely to work from the comfort of their homes.”

More than 30,000 unionized members — working in buildings ranging from rental to luxury megatowers Billionaire’s Row and iconic co-cops like The Dakota – were on deck to go on strike as early as Thursday if negotiations collapsed by the April 20 deadline.

“We want to thank all New Yorkers who have shown their support during this process,” bargaining committee member Crystalann Johnson said in a statement from the union. “We appreciate everyone who has reached out and look forward to seeing you tomorrow at work.”

Selwyn Felix, 61, has worked as a handyman in the same Upper West Side condominium for 28 years.

“We were ready to strike. We wanted to make sure we got the best possible deal for the workers who have been through the worst pandemic,” the Cambria Heights, Queens resident told THE CITY.

But he was happy that on Tuesday the union received “the best contract we have obtained in the history of 32BJ”.

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