At the moment, it appears that tenants at residential buildings throughout the city can temporarily breathe a sigh of relief.
On Friday, it was announced that a tentative agreement was reached between the Realty Advisory Board of Labor Relations and 32BJ--the union that represents over 30,000 residential building services workers such as doormen, handypersons and porters--on a new labor contract. The deal comes a week before the current contract was set to expire, thus averting a possible strike.
According to a press release issued by the Realty Advisory Board, under this new proposed four-year contract, the average annual wage for a worker will be increased by 2.73 percent, which would make the salary for a doorman or a building services worker grow to $55,017 by the end of the contract. The Board also stated that 32BJ workers will continue to get full family health insurance, as well as a defined benefit pension and an employer-contributed 401K annuity.
Additionally, 32BJ said that all benefits are protected with improved worker protections, such as issues regarding harassment, through this new tentative deal. Essentially, this amounts to more than $10,000 in new wages and benefits through the life of the contract, according to the union.
The deal now has to be approved by 32BJ members and the Realty Advisory Board. If and when ratification happens, the new contract will run through April 2022.
In a statement, Howard Rothschild, President of the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, said: “We are proud to have reached a fair and successful agreement. It will continue to create and provide middle class jobs and ultimately bring us to more than 30 years of uninterrupted labor peace. Both sides thoughtfully considered the economic realities of the industry moving into the next four years, allowing us to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. We have agreed on fair and reasonable wage increases for employees and the continuation of our excellent health plan, while controlling costs for employers.”
Hector Figueroa, the president of 32BJ, added: “This agreement honors the valuable contributions of the hardworking men and women who keep our building running and make our city strong. With this agreement our members, our families and our communities are moving forward.”
32BJ represents 31,000 building service workers in 3,500 buildings throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, according to the union.
David Chiu is an associate editor at The Cooperator.