With two weeks left to avert a strike, 32BJ, the service employees union which represents office maintenance workers in many New York City commercial buildings, plans to march up Sixth Avenue at rush hour tomorrow, according to spokespeople for the union.
The office cleaners’ group expects between 5,000 and 6,000 people to march down Sixth Avenue from 41st Street to 48th Street in solidarity with workers, union spokesperson Matt Nerzig told The Real Deal.
The march is not intended to disrupt traffic or business, Nerzig said, but rather to increase the union’s profile. “Anyone in that area will see and feel our presence at that time,” he said.
As The Real Deal previously reported, the union has been in talks with the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, an industry association representing most building owners, since Nov. 15. The union objects to a number of proposals made by the board, including but not limited to proposals to hire new workers at a lower wage, and to cut vacation and sick day benefits to existing workers.
“We want the real estate industry to see that thosuands of workers and New Yorkers care about protecting their goood jobs,” Nerzig said.
The union represents 22,000 workers at commercials high-rises such as Rockefeller Center, the Met Life Building and the Empire State Building, and their contract expires Dec. 31, 2011. — Guelda Voien