NEW YORK – 32BJ SEIU and the Realty Advisory Board reached a tentative agreement Friday that would provide 11.3% raises over four years and maintain health care and retirement benefits. If ratified by the members, the contract would cover 30,000 doormen, porters, handypersons and supers in 3,300 buildings throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.
The deal contains no give backs, keeps pension and health care protected, and provides a strong wage increase that keeps members ahead of inflation and the rising cost of living.
Through this contract, the RAB made clear that they value the skilled and dedicated employees who make New York home for two million tenants.
The unity and strength of 32BJ members, combined with a healthy real estate industry and employers who came to the table ready to negotiate a fair deal, resulted in an early agreement that will allow residents to observe the upcoming holidays with peace of mind.
Not only will 30,000 residential members continue to have access to quality, cost-effective healthcare and be confident of decent retirement security, they will be better able to provide for themselves and their families and put money back into their local communities.
“Today we are proud to say that we have made it a little easier for 30,000 New Yorkers to make this great city their home,” said Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU. “In a city that has become increasingly unequal, this contract will keep 30,000 building workers on a pathway to the middle class, which will also benefit the communities in which they live.”
32BJ members, who are part of the bargaining committee, said they planned to vote for the contract and encourage their co-workers to do the same.
“This contract will allow me to pay my bills and get out of debt,” said Donald Killings, 55, who is a doorman Manhattan. “The truth is, it’s a matter of respect. It makes me feel like I’m really respected on the job. And I won’t have to take on another job, as I have in the past.”
“This contract will allow me to continue to provide a decent life for my kids. My dream is to send them to college,” said Derbert King, 49, who works as a super in Queens and is a father of three.
“This contract will mean that I don’t have to worry about choosing between saving for retirement and getting the health care I need now,” said Ricardo Buchanan, 57, a handyperson in Manhattan.
“I am one of those people who loves his job. Tomorrow when I walk back into work, I will feel as though the people I work for respect and value the work that I do,” said Marco King, 41, who is a handyperson in Brooklyn and the father of three sons.
The union built tremendous political, community and labor support through this contract campaign. Many elected officials, community groups and other labor unions support 32BJ in the fight to ensure New York remains a city for all.
“We would also like to thank all of the tenants who showed their support through messages, letters, photos and encouraging words to our members” said Figueroa. “We’re glad to have what we need to continue making New York home for over two million tenants.”
“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,” said Figueroa.
With 145,000 members in 11 states in the District of Columbia, including 70,000 in New York City, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country