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Building Owners, Union Negotiate Over New Labor Contract Wages and Benefits for Building Service Workers to Be Discussed

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The daily operations of your condo or co-op could be disrupted or not, depending on what happens after April 20.

As reported by Crain's Business New York, negotiations between the city's apartment building owners and labor union 32BJ SEIU began on March 1 over a new four-year contract that would affect 31,000 building service workers and more than 3,500 buildings. The talks come ahead of the current contract between the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations and 32BJ that expires on April 20.

On the table are issues such as wages and benefits for workers, including doormen and women, superintendents, porters, and handy persons.

“Members of our Bargaining Committee have said residential workers need a good contract that enables them to continue living in the city and provide a bright future for their families,” 32BJ said on its website. Among the union's proposals are a fair wage increase, maintenance of health benefits, the protection of pensions, paid leave, and improvement of working conditions.

Going into the talks, Howard Rothschild, president of the Realty Advisory Board, told Crain's: “Generally it goes well, and we hope it goes well this time around. We’ve been doing these contracts with 32BJ since the mid-1930s.” According to the board, previous talks have not led to a strike in over 25 years.

Concern about the negotiations and the impending deadline has prompted the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums (CNYC) to hold an event on Wednesday March 14 titled Building Service Employees Contract: Hope For The Best But Prepare For All Eventualities, which will feature Rothschild in attendance. According to the CNYC, Rothschild will inform stakeholders on the negotiations and offer tips on how buildings can prepare in advance should a possible workers' strike happens.

The last labor contract was negotiated four years ago that resulted in an increase of salary to $49,402 for door persons and porters, The New York Times reported. 

David Chiu is an associate editor at The Cooperator. 

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