By Héctor J. Figueroa
President, 32BJ SEIU
Today we are proud to say we have made it a little easier for our 30,000 members – skilled, hard-working people living in communities across the city and taking care of millions of New Yorkers – to make this great city our home.
After weeks of negotiation, we have come to a residential contract agreement with the Realty Advisory Board for Labor Relations (RAB), an industry association representing most building owners in New York City.
This victory is a result of member strength, worker unity, and our readiness and willingness to hit the streets. We were organized, disciplined, focused and ready to strike.
From the beginning of these negotiations, we have maintained that residential workers should not be struggling to make ends meet at a time when the real estate industry is thriving. I’m happy to report that we have reached a strong and reasonable settlement with no givebacks, our pension and healthcare protected, and a strong wage increase that keeps ahead of inflation and the rising cost of living.
Through this contract, our employers recognize our value as skilled, dedicated and irreplaceable employees who really do make New York home for millions of people.
Not only will 30,000 residential members continue to have access to quality, cost-effective healthcare and look forward to a secure, dignified retirement, they will be better able to provide for themselves and their families and contribute to the economic strength of their local communities.
We’ve also built tremendous political, community and labor support. Our allies were with us, ready to support us in the fight to ensure New York remains a city for all. We thank all of you for your support.
We are deeply grateful to the tenants who showed us their support through messages, letters, photos and encouraging words.
And as we fought for a strong contract for our members, we will continue to fight for those who do not yet have a union, suffer under poor conditions and low wages, and also deserve a chance to make ends meet and be able to live in this city.