NEW YORK – New York security officers avoided a potential strike last week when they reached a tentative deal with their employers that raises their wages and benefits for the next four years.
32BJ security officers protect some of the city’s most iconic sites, including the 9/11 Memorial, The New York Public Library, Time Warner Center and hundreds of other office, university and infrastructure buildings across the city. The work of security officers is more important than ever. As we have seen in attacks that have hit major cities around the world, they serve as both protectors and first responders for residents and visitors to our city.
Bargaining between 32BJ and the employers for thousands security officers in New York started in February. On April 25, a tentative agreement was reached with the Realty Advisory Board, representing major building owners and property service contractors. The contract for the remaining 32BJ security officers in New York expired on April 30 and negotiations with the contracting companies continued. On May 12, the union reached a tentative agreement with the contractors, averting possible strikes throughout the city.
“Security officers are always there, putting their lives on the line to protect New Yorkers, so this new contract is about more than raising wages.” said Denis Johnston, vice president of 32BJ and director of the security division. “For the first time many security officers will have employer paid family health insurance. This, among other benefits in the new contract, make their communities stronger by allowing security officers to support themselves and their families at home while continuing to protect the public while at work.”
The tentative contractors agreement reached on May 12 gives security officers a wage increases that will create a minimum wage of $15.50 by 2019. By 2017, security officers in commercial real estate buildings throughout the city will join thousands of other security officers who already have 100% employer-paid family health coverage, one of the main demands of their contract campaign. Security officers will also see the number of paid days off they are entitled to rise from 3 up to 7, not including vacation. Security officers are expected to ratify the contract in a private meeting on May 25.
“I am so happy to see that all officers in the city now have the security of knowing our families have health insurance in times of need. Higher wages, family health insurance and paid days off will help us come to work every day, ready to make sure New Yorkers are as safe as possible,” said Eunice Mercedes, a security officer in downtown Manhattan and a member of the Union’s bargaining committee for negotiations with the contractors.
Both contracts will cover security officers through April 30, 2020.
With more than 155,000 members, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service union in the country.