Governor Hochul Signs Prevailing Wage Legislation

Emiljana Ulaj, eulaj@seiu32bj.org, 347-602-3129

Governor Hochul Signs Prevailing Wage Legislation

Over 2,000 Building Service Workers in NYC Will Finally See Wage Justice After Governor Hochul Signs Prevailing Wage Legislation

On Labor Day, Governor Hochul signed a bill to require large luxury apartment buildings that receive the CoOp/Condo Tax Abatement to pay prevailing wage to building service workers

New York, NY — On Labor Day, Monday, September 6th, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law S.6350/A.7434 to require large luxury apartment buildings that receive the Cooperative & Condominium Tax Abatement to pay prevailing wage to building service workers.

The new law is a major victory for more than 2,000 residential building doorpersons, cleaning, and maintenance persons who have been struggling for years to provide for their families with substandard wages and a lack of benefits.

Kyle Bragg, President of SEIU Local 32BJ, said, “This is a momentous day for over 2,000 building service workers and their families who will finally start earning family-sustaining wages. These luxury apartment buildings can afford to pay workers the prevailing wage, and frontline essential building service workers who risked their lives to keep New Yorkers safe deserve good pay & benefits. 32BJ commends Governor Kathy Hochul, bill sponsors Senator Brian Benjamin & Assembly member Carmen de la Rosa, and every legislator who voted to tie fair wages to public funds for these essential workers.”

The union 32BJ has been working with affected building service workers for years in an effort to achieve parity with 30,000 other building service jobs in New York City that are known to provide good pay and benefits.

Chris Sanchez, a porter at a luxury building on the West Side of Manhattan, said “There have been many days when I skipped meals just to save a little money. I haven’t seen a doctor in 2 years because my job doesn’t provide healthcare, and I can’t afford to pay for a health insurance plan. Earning the prevailing wage means I can provide for my family without sacrificing meals, and hopefully I can put some money aside to fulfill my dream of sending my son to college one day.”

The vast majority, more than 95%, of the impacted workers serve in buildings in Manhattan south of 96th Street.

The bill was carried by Senator Brian Benjamin and Assembly member Carmen de la Rosa.

Senate bill sponsor Senator Brian Benjamin, said, “Luxury apartment buildings that can afford to provide prevailing wages and benefits to building service workers should be required to do so. These essential workers put their lives on the line everyday during the pandemic to keep New Yorkers safe and should be treated with respect. I want to thank Governor Kathy Hochul for recognizing their importance to the New York City economy by signing this bill.”

Building service workers who had been left behind prior to the signing of this bill have been meeting with state legislators to discuss the hardships they faced trying to raise their families on substandard wages and without affordable benefits.

Assembly bill sponsor Assembly member Carmen de la Rosa, said, “Public funds should never be used to undercut the industry standard. This is a great day for essential workers who risked their health and that of their families’ to finally earn the wages and benefits they deserve.”

The new prevailing wage requirement will only apply to high-end buildings that can afford to sustain good jobs. The requirement will cover buildings with 30 or more units and a per-unit average assessed value (AAV) ranging from $60,000 to $100,000, and all buildings with an AAV above $100,000. The corresponding average sale price of an AAV of $60,000 is $800,000 to $1,200,000, and an AAV of $100,000 corresponds to an average sale price well above that range.

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