New York, NY – Today, June 1st, an estimated 350 building services essential workers, including 32BJ SEIU members, rallied in the Bronx with supporters to demand that building management agree to a new contract for 500 CO-OP City porters, doorpersons, superintendents and handypersons that includes good wage increases, fully employer-paid health care for families and protections for pensions after workers demonstrated their commitment and service throughout the pandemic.
After 32BJ members demonstrated their commitment and service throughout the two-year pandemic, thirty-two thousand porters, doorpersons, superintendents, concierges and handypersons across the city demanded fair wage increases, fully employer-paid health care for families and no givebacks. Their fight resulted in an excellent contract with the RAB, and Co-Op City should follow suit. Co-Op City 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 35 buildings and an estimated 45,000 CO-OP City residents.
CO-OP City, the nation’s largest affordable housing cooperative, recently refinanced loans that won them $124 million for repair and improvement projects.
At the rally, 32BJ SEIU members were joined by elected officials and labor leaders including Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson and New York City Councilmember Kevin Riley (District 12), along with labor leaders, including 32BJ Secretary-Treasurer Manny Pastreich, 32BJ Executive Vice President and Director of NY Schools Division, Bronx Residential and Hudson Valley District Shirley Aldebol, and 32BJ Assistant to the President John Santos.
32BJ President Kyle Bragg said: “Healthcare is a cornerstone of 32BJ. We’ve had to fight for everything we have in our union contract: paid days off, health care, workplace protection, a pension. We have no intention of giving up this battle, especially here in the Bronx–a borough that disproportionately bore the pandemic’s burden and economic downturn. 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 that give us profound hope this year. From Amazon Labor Union’s win on Staten Island to Starbucks workers’ victories through Workers United, solidarity makes us strong. We will fight for a fair contract.”
CO-OP City worker and 32BJ bargaining committee member Kimberly Hutchinson said:
“We have no intention of weathering the Bronx’s recovery from the pandemic and the economic crisis without access to the health care that served as a vital lifeline for ourselves and our families. When the Bronx bounces back, it will be because of the efforts of working people like myself and my colleagues. It’s time for building management to acknowledge that truth and come to the table with a contract that respects our union and its members.”
CO-OP City worker and Contract Action Team leader Gjon Nikac said:
“As the pandemic ravaged the Bronx, my fellow doormen and I were right there working to protect our small corner of this amazing borough. As we enter year three of the pandemic, we do not intend to bear this burden without the healthcare and benefits we fought for years to win. We thank our allies and our fellow members for standing with us in this battle to ensure that the working families of the Bronx are not lost in the shuffle of our city’s recovery.”
With more than 175,000 members in 12 states, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers’ union in the country.