New York, NY— Today the New York City Council passed Intro 1321, a bill that will ensure good jobs with prevailing wages and benefits for building service workers at affordable housing developments and preservation projects across the city.
“This is an IMPORTANT victory for working families and their communities across the city,” said Kyle Bragg, president of 32BJ SEIU, the building service workers’ union. “We’ve proved that New York that creates more affordable housing while ensuring that workers are paid the wages and benefits they need to be able to afford to live in our city. My brother, former 32BJ President Hector Figueroa, started the push for this bill before his death and I am beyond proud to have led the push to seal the deal and add it to his legacy of support for working people in our city”
The law, Intro 1321 will require a prevailing wage at most affordable housing developments, with important carve outs for supportive housing and other vulnerable populations The prevailing wage is a set of requirements for hourly wages, plus the cost of health and retirement benefits that match the employer-recognized industry norms for building service workers across the city. Intro 1321 will extend the existing building service prevailing wage law to both new affordable housing developments and preservation projects with 120 units or more.
At a rally on Thursday afternoon, 32BJ and working people impacted by the bill expressed their thanks for the dozens of elected officials who championed the bill including City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio, bill sponsor Councilman Rafael Espinal and Councilman Daneek Miller.
“I will always stand with working-class New Yorkers. Sadly, too many of them work very hard for low wages, wages that are insufficient to raise a family, to put food on the table, to pay bills. This is not the New York we want. Some people need to have two or three jobs just to survive, to make end meet. It is only right that is developers receive financial assistance to build affordable housing units, building service workers should receive a prevailing wage. Workers deserve a fair wage,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
As the City implements its plan to build and preserve 300,000 much needed affordable housing apartments, Intro 1321 will raise standards for the thousands of workers at these buildings—many of which are located in low-income communities of color. The saw widespread support from building service workers from across the city.
“This bill is going to change people’s lives and allow them to finally live the American dream,” said Yenni Hernandez, a building cleaner who was previously homeless and unable to raise her son before securing her prevailing wage job. “When I was homeless, living in the subway, it was an affordable housing apartment and a good, prevailing wage job that saved my life. I wanted that for every single New Yorker so I came together with other union members to fight for both good jobs and more affordable housing in our city. We won and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Intro 1321 had had a super-majority of support in the City Council and Councilmembers regularly met with impacted workers and workers already making a prevailing wage as they decided to support this important improvement for New York.
With 175,000 members in 11 states, including 85,000 in New York, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country