New York, NY – Today, April 13th, an estimated 10,000 building services essential workers, including 32BJ SEIU members from New York to Washington, D.C. to Miami, rallied on Park Avenue with supporters to demand that the Real Estate Advisory Board (RAB) agree to a new contract for 32,000 porters, doorpersons, superintendents, concierges and handypersons across the city 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 two year pandemic. Building workers voted to give the bargaining committee the power to call for a strike, if they decide it becomes necessary. A strike, if one occurs, would affect over 3,000 buildings and 555,000 apartments citywide.
At the rally, 32BJ SEIU members were joined by leading elected officials and top labor leaders including Governor Kathy Hochul, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, other members of the city council, along with labor leaders, including DC 37 President Henry Garrido, 1199 SEIU President George Gresham, New York City Building Trades President Gary Labarbera, CWA District 1 President Dennis Trainor, New York Central Labor Council President Vinny Alvarez, and Teamsters District Council President Demos Demopoulos.
32BJ President Kyle Bragg said: “Healthcare is a cornerstone of 32BJ. It’s a strike issue. The building owners want us to take money out of our paycheck to pay for healthcare every month, whether we use it or not. We will not stand for premium sharing and we will not stand for anything that disrespects the time and work our members have given over the past two years. We’ve had to fight for every single thing we have in our union contract: paid days off, health care, workplace protection, a pension. This is no exception. We are thankful for the support of all our allies and partners as we fight for a just city and stand with us as part of that fight.”
32BJ Secretary-Treasurer Manny Pastreich said: “We’re living through a historic moment. Despite the attacks on labor across the country, we’ve witnessed organizing wins this year that give us profound hope. From Amazon Labor Union’s win on Staten Island to Starbucks workers’ victories through Workers United, solidarity is what makes us strong. We will fight for a fair contract.”
32BJ bargaining committee member Crystalann Johnson said: “This contract campaign has implications for every other contract in this union and other contracts across the city. At the bargaining table, I stand up tall and proud because I know I have the power of a union behind me. Many of us have worked through several crises in this city and we are committed to the city of New York.”
32BJ bargaining committee member Stephen Yearwood said: “They’ve demanded that we pay into our healthcare. What a slap in the face. This has brought the union together and made us even stronger. I want to thank all the 32BJ members who have stood with us over the past few months, participating in actions, coming to membership meeting, making phone calls.”
To view the livestream of the 32BJ Strike Rally click here:
To access photos of the 32BJ Strike Rally click here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1lLtBI-559u4Ja-jX3-l6pcw-GizDZHHA?usp=sharing
With more than 175,000 members in 12 states, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers’ union in the country.