By Héctor J. Figueroa
President, 32BJ SEIU
I look forward to seeing you this Wednesday as we turn Park Avenue into a sea of purple and gold. Thousands of working men and women will join together to demonstrate our strength and unity and to deliver the message that we make New York home for millions.
We’ll be there to call in one loud and unified voice for a contract that allows us to also make New York home for ourselves and families. We want and deserve a strong contract, one that maintains our benefits and provides for a fair wage increase that keeps up with the rising costs of living in a city as expensive as New York. We make New York home for so many people; we deserve a wage that allows us to call New York home as well.
We are confident we will win a strong contract because our membership is united, we are well organized and we are ready to strike. We also feel confident because our employers recognize the importance of our work, and the real estate industry is strong and growing.
Bargaining is about the union and the Real Estate Advisory Board negotiating a fair contract for 30,000 hard-working men and women. We know from experience that to win at the table we need to turnout on the streets. We know we must be ready to strike, as anything can happen during negotiations, even when both parties are working hard to negotiate a fair deal; the fact is that the union and the employers may have very different views on what “fair” means.
Our bargaining committee – elected leaders of the union, including many rank and file members – has been chosen to represent all 30,000 residential members. We will be voting Wednesday to authorize this committee to agree to a fair deal for members to ratify or to strike if a fair deal cannot be reached.
We’ll be joined by elected officials who stand for good jobs and support our bargaining demands. And we’ll be joined by brothers and sisters from other unions who understand the meaning of solidarity and pledge to fight with us until we win a fair contract, including honoring picket lines if we go on strike.
We take pride in our union and all we have fought for and won over the years. We take pride in our work making New York home for over two million people.
The best way to make sure that we get a fair contract is to remain mobilized and ready to fight for ourselves, our families and our communities. But we can’t do it without the support of each and every one of our brothers and sisters. Our contract expires on April 20 and we need YOU to get involved in our campaign to win a good contract.
This week, come rain, snow or shine, thousands will chant, cheer and march up Park Avenue. Be there.