New York — In a massive show of solidarity, hundreds of Bronx residential workers rallied outside of Bronx Borough Hall to demand a fair wage increase and benefits that will allow them to provide for themselves and their families.
At the rally on Tuesday, 32BJ members voted to authorize a strike in the event that their bargaining committee cannot reach a deal with the Bronx Realty Advisory Board by the time the contract expires on March 14th.
Negotiations are currently underway for a contract that would affect the livelihood of 3,500 doormen and doorwomen, porters, handypersons, and supers who work in over 1,000 apartment buildings in the Bronx.
“We take pride in our job and provide a valuable service to the residents of the apartment buildings where we work,” said bargaining committee member Darryl Mosley. “We ask for little in return, just respect, a living wage, and to maintain our benefits. We deserve a fair contract and will stand united in our fight to get one because together we are Bronx Strong!”
“These hardworking men and women are making the Bronx strong,” said 32BJ President Hector Figueroa. “They keep tens of thousands of residents safe and comfortable across the Bronx and many of them live in the borough themselves. They deserve good jobs that help them support their families and build stronger communities.”
Elected officials from across the Bronx joined the rally to stand with the workers in their quest for a fair contract.
“Our community’s hardworking people deserve access to fair wages and benefits that allow them to meet their basic needs, provide for their families, and plan for their future,” said Congressman José Serrano. “We need to make sure residential workers are fairly compensated and are offered the health care and retirement benefits they need to continue living and working in New York City. Today, I stand in solidarity with all the workers and families who believe in a strong and sustainable Bronx where everyone benefits from the change and transformation taking place in our neighborhoods.”
“When we support workers we help uplift neighborhoods,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “If they have more money in their pockets they will spend it on local goods and services which is good for area businesses and the local economy.”
Other elected officials have voiced their support. They include New York State Senators Gustavo Rivera, José Serrano, and Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Assembly members Michael Blake, Jeffrey Dinowitz, and Mark Gjona, and City Council Members Vanessa Gibson, Ritchie Torres, Maria Del Carmen Arroyo, Andy King, and Fernando Cabrera.
The workers’ demand for a fair wage increase comes at a time when rents and real estate sales prices are on the rise. More than 1 billion dollars was pumped into the Bronx housing market in the first six months of 2014. Co-op and condo median sales prices have risen steadily.
Bronx residential workers are contributing to this boom and building owners are reaping the benefits. These hardworking men and women deserve wages and benefits that allow them to support their families and make the Bronx strong.
Elected officials from across the Bronx are giving their support to Bronx residential workers:
“As the contract expiration for 3,500 Bronx residential buildings quickly approaches the March 15 deadline, it is very important for my constituents that a new, fair and equitable contract for wages, benefits and healthcare is quickly hammered out, ratified by the membership, and signed,” said U.S. Representative Charles Rangel. “I hope that the negotiations will lead to an agreement that will enable our building employees to continue to live and work in New York City, preventing any strike or stall that will negatively affect the quality of life for our building residential communities in the Bronx.”
“The men and women of 32BJ help keep buildings across the Bronx clean, safe and welcoming for their residents,” said New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “Many of them are also Bronx residents, working hard to support their families and make the Bronx strong. They deserve good pay and benefits.”
“Residential workers in the Bronx dedicate their days to ensuring our buildings are well taken care of and that their residents have a clean, safe and comfortable place to call home, “said New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “These workers deserve to be treated the same way they treat the tenants that live in the buildings they maintain – with dignity and respect. I am proud to join 32BJ and over 3,000 residential workers in the Bronx in their fight for fair wages, adequate healthcare and a secure retirement. As our borough continues to flourish, it is our responsibility to make sure those who live and work in the Bronx prosper along with it.”
“32BJ building service workers provide our residents and their homes with a level of safety and comfort and they deserve a fair contract, “said New York State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson. “It is time for building owners to commit to fair wages that will enable our members to live without constantly feeling financially overwhelmed in the communities they serve so well.”
“I am proud to stand with the 17,200 hardworking, dedicated members of 32BJ that call the Bronx home,” said New York State Senator José Serrano. “Today we are marching for fair wages for the 3,500 residential workers that take care of us on a daily basis in over 1,000 apartment buildings across the Bronx.”
“I’m proud to stand by the hard working members of 32 BJ,” said New York State Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj. “It is important that we fight for successful jobs with benefits for all working families in the Bronx.”
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said, “I stand with the 3,500 service workers of SEIU 32BJ who seek a new contract that gives them fair wages and benefits. The Bronx is in the midst of revitalization, with new investments and new development coming in each day, and we need to ensure that everyone can rise together. All workers have the right to a decent income, and providing fair wages and good benefits to those who repair and care for over a thousand residential buildings across this borough will make our neighborhoods stronger.”
“I am proud to stand with 32BJ members and support their demand for a fair contract,” said New York City Councilmember Ritchie Torres of the Bronx.” Most workers in the Bronx are earning barely enough to stay afloat, creating hardship for their households and the community at large. Building service workers keep our city running and deserve good jobs with family sustaining wages.”
“I am proud to stand with the hardworking members of 32BJ as they fight for increased wages,” said New York City Councilmember Vanessa L. Gibson of the Bronx. “I am extremely proud to always stand with my constituents with regard to fair wages, safe working conditions, and increasing good jobs. I am looking forward to working with all stake holders to ensure that 32BJ workers can enjoy the benefits of their hard work through good jobs which builds stronger communities.”
With more than 145,000 members including 70,000 in New York City, 32BJ is the largest property service workers union in the country.