The union that represents doormen and other workers in more than 3,000 apartment buildings in New York City reached a new contract agreement Tuesday, averting a strike that could have put thousands of tenants on hold in lobbies and dragged trash to the curb.
The agreement between Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union and the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations was announced Tuesday afternoon. It led to what would have been the first strike by the city’s union porters in more than 30 years.
The Realty Advisory Board, which represents companies that employ more than 30,000 doormen, doormen and building inspectors citywide, had sought concessions on health care premiums and other benefits, including sick pay and vacation days. The board argued that its employees were among only 5 percent of employees who do not contribute to their health insurance.
But Kyle Bragg, president of 32BJ, said those returns were deal breakers and that its members voted last week to approve a strike if no contract agreement is reached Wednesday night, when the current contract expires. The union held a meeting on Park Avenue last week attended by Governor Kathy Hochul, Senator Chuck Schumer and other elected officials.
Despite the board’s tough initial stance, the union said it ended with historically large wage increases, without giving up any benefits.
Annual pay increases averaging 3 percent over four years will bring the pay for a typical doorman (most doormen are men) to about $62,000 by the end of the contract, the two sides announced. The deal also includes a one-time bonus of $3,000 this year, they said.
“We have a deal!” Mr Bragg said in a statement. “We’ve struck a deal that protects healthcare, without premium sharing. We’ve made a deal that protects paid time off. We have struck a deal that will provide the economic security our members need at a time of rising inflation.”
Bragg said the contract honored the “indispensable” contributions and sacrifices made by 32BJ’s members during the pandemic. “They were there to keep our buildings running and our communities safe when the city needed them most,” he said.
Howard Rothschild, chairman of the Realty Advisory Board, said the agreement was fair and would continue to create and support middle-class jobs for more than 30,000 workers for the next four years.
“The agreement builds on the important work RAB and 32BJ have done together during the pandemic – protecting jobs and preserving solid health benefits – and further demonstrates the industry’s respect and appreciation for our essential workers with a substantial bonus,” said the Mr Rothschild.
“We would like to thank all the housing service professionals for their tireless dedication and commitment during a tremendously challenging time,” he added.