SCARSDALE, NY – Today, September 20th, an estimated 500 building services essential workers, members of 32BJ SEIU, rallied on Garth Road in Scarsdale to demand the Building & Realty Institute of Westchester & the Mid-Hudson Region (BRI) agree to a new contract for 1,400 door-people, porters, handy-people and superintendents across the Hudson Valley that includes fair wage increases, fully employer-paid health care for families and no givebacks after 32BJ members demonstrated their commitment and service throughout the pandemic.
Members voted YES on a motion to authorize their 32BJ SEIU bargaining committee to call for a strike if necessary. A strike would directly impact 100,000 local residents and 500 residential buildings. The existing labor contract covering the 1,400 workers expires on September 30.
At the rally and march, workers and supporters expressed outrage at BRI proposals to carve up full time jobs that currently provide health care and other benefits into part-time jobs with no benefits, as well as proposals to expand the use of temporary workers who would work full-time for extended periods without benefits. In addition to its attacks on full-time employment, the BRI’s economic offer does not cover health care costs, seeks premium sharing by the end of a 4-year agreement, and offers little room for wage increases.
At the rally, members were joined by elected officials and labor leaders including Westchester County Executive George Latimer, 32BJ Secretary-Treasurer Manny Pastreich, and 32BJ Executive Vice President and Director of the Hudson Valley District Shirley Aldebol.
“We came out in force today to make it clear that we are not going to entertain attacks on our healthcare and full time work,” said 32BJ Executive Vice President Shirely Aldebol. “These workers demand some respect. At the height of the pandemic, they showed up when others stayed home. Their workloads and responsibilities skyrocketed – they deserve fair wage increases, retirement security, and to preserve their health care benefits.”
“We have gone through so much and given so much to keep our residents and buildings safe during the pandemic – before the vaccines and before real PPE,” said Yonkers building superintendent Tony Castiglione. “What we want is fairness, to continue to enjoy our benefits, and some recognition for all that we’ve sacrificed over the years and during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“I’m a Yonkers resident and have been working as a doorman for 35 years, and the last two years have been like nothing I’ve ever seen,” said Yonkers doorman Felix Cano. “When the pandemic hit, we got inundated with packages. And now it’s the new normal. The number of packages I get in one day now is what I used to get in one week! It is a lot of work for us. More garbage. More recycling. More heavy lifting. We are inundated. We’re asking for some recognition of all we do for this community.”
“The residential workers of Hudson Valley are integral to our community. They work in our homes, keeping our buildings clean and running, and go above and beyond to provide high quality services to 100,000 local residents,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “They were there for us when the pandemic hit. I stand with them in their fight.”
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With more than 175,000 members in 12 states, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.