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Unionized Bronx Building Staffers Approve Contract, Avert Strike

Bill Morris in Building Operations on March 20, 2023

The Bronx

Unionized building staffers, contract settlement, co-ops and condos, the Bronx.
March 20, 2023

Negotiators for the Bronx Realty Advisory Board (BRAB) and Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have reached a tentative contract agreement, averting a strike that would have idled 2,712 building staffers in 894 co-ops, condos and apartment buildings in the Bronx, The Bronx Times reports.

The agreement, reached shortly before the current contract was set to expire last week, is a four-year deal. It allows BRAB, which represents building owners, to renegotiate the contract after one year if they are unable to meet the financial commitment of the new four-year wage scale, which includes $102.80 per week in wage increases over four years.

Prior to the new deal, 32BJ officials said Bronx workers, such as porters and door attendants, make roughly $19.66 an hour compared to a wage of $27.13 in the other boroughs. Last year, the RAB and the union reached a four-year deal for 32,000 service employees — doormen, handymen, porters, concierges and others — in more than 3,000 buildings in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. That pact provided an average wage and benefit increase of 3.17% annually and, crucially, will preserved 100% employer-paid healthcare, with no premium sharing by employees.

“We have a deal," said Shirley Aldebol, 32BJ executive vice president in the Bronx. "(It) preserves benefits and wins wage increases that reflect the sacrifices these Bronx workers made throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the hard work they put in every day to keep residents safe. The deal protects healthcare with no premium sharing. It protects paid time off. It provides the economic security our members need in a time of rising inflation.”

While the deal is awaiting a final ratification by rank-and-file 32BJ SEIU union members, BRAB officials expressed relief at an end to tense contract negotiations, which, they say, were complicated due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the Bronx housing market.

“We’re thrilled that we reached an agreement with 32BJ," said Billy Schur, president of BRAB. "We are proud to offer its members in the Bronx a fair compensation and benefits package while recognizing the fiscal realities of the industry."

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