NEW YORK: Apartment building workers voted overwhelmingly Monday to ratify a new contract that provides a 11.3% wage increase over four years. The pact maintains existing health care coverage and retirement benefits and contains no give-backs for 30,000 doormen, supers, porters and handypersons who are members of 32BJ SEIU.
“I am very happy that we were able to get a fair wage increase without going on strike,” said Scott Cohen, a doorman on Manhattan’s upper East Side. “The fact that our health care stayed affordable is a big relief.”
“With costs going up every year in the city, this contract will mean that we can keep up,” said Julia Rodriguez, who has been a handyperson for 15 years.
The contract approved by 32BJ residential members was tentatively agreed to by the union and the Realty Advisory Board of New York on April 11. Members ratified the deal by mail ballot and the results were tallied on Monday morning at 32BJ SEIU headquarters in Manhattan. The new contract will expire on April 20, 2018.
“This contract takes a small step towards reversing the inequality that has spiraled in this city,” said 32BJ SEIU president Héctor Figueroa. “Apartment building workers make New York home for two million tenants, and now it will be a little easier for these hard-working men and women to make New York their home as well.”
The union is now working to get a new contract for residential workers at Co-op City in the Bronx, where the current contract for 500 workers expires in June. 32BJ has also launched a campaign for decent raises and to maintain benefits for apartment building workers in Hudson Valley, whose contract expires in September. Contracts for residential workers in New Jersey and the Bronx also expire in the next year.
“Our union is now taking the campaign for fair wage increases and to maintain health and retirement benefits to the Bronx, Hudson Valley and New Jersey. We have also turned our attention to the small number of luxury buildings, such as some of those on the High Line in Manhattan, that refuse to pay their employees a decent wage and affordable health care,” Figueroa said. “We are committed to making sure that all New York City apartment building workers can afford to live in the city where they work.”
Doormen and porters who had been making about $44,000 will earn about $49,000 by the end of the contract.
With more than 145,000 members, including 70,000 in New York City, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service union in the country.