After a massive rally and a threat of a strike, building service workers and landlords have reached a historic agreement. 32BJ SEIU and the Realty Advisory Board (RAB) on April 19 reached a tentative agreement that secures significant wins for building workers, including a nearly 12.6 percent wage increase over the next four years, the highest pay raise in the history of the union. Other victories include a $3,000 bonus for essential workers to counter inflation, 100 percent employer-paid healthcare, and protection of sick leave and paid vacation time. The deal must still be approved by 32BJ members, but the agreement guarantees workers will show up to work as usual on April 21.
Upon approval, the contract would cover more than 32,000 doorpersons, porters, concierges, handypersons, and superintendents who serve nearly 555,000 apartments and 1.5 million residents in 3,000 buildings throughout the five boroughs.
“We have a deal!,” Kyle Bragg, 32BJ President, said in a statement on Tuesday. “We got a deal done that protects healthcare, with no premium sharing. We got a deal done that protects paid time off. We got a deal done that provides the economic security our members need in a time of rising inflation. We got a deal done that our members have earned and deserved.”
Bragg continued: “This contract honors the indispensable contributions that 32BJ members made throughout the pandemic and includes pay bonuses – a powerful recognition of our members’ sacrifice. They were there, keeping our buildings running and our communities safe, when the city needed them most. 32BJ members are proud to show up to work every day and that includes tomorrow and the days ahead.”
Nearly 10,000 of the city’s building service workers and 32BJ members rallied on Park Avenue last week, calling on the RAB to create a new contract with fair wage increases and better coverage of healthcare, paid time off, and vacation time. Ralliers were supported by the presence of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Sen. Chuck Schumer, among other elected officials.
If an agreement wasn’t reached before the April 20 deadline, building workers agreed to strike for the first time since the 12-day strike of 1991.
“The industry is proud to have reached a fair agreement that will continue to create and support middle class jobs for more than 30,000 workers over the next four years,” Howard Rothschild, president of the RAB, said in a statement.
“The agreement builds on the important work RAB and 32BJ accomplished together throughout the pandemic – protecting jobs and maintaining solid health benefits – and further shows the industry’s respect and appreciation for our essential workers with a substantial bonus.”
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