Tenants living on Billionaires’ Row and in thousands of buildings across New York City can now relax, knowing they won’t have to volunteer for apartment building jobs or take out their own trash.
Following a week of negotiations, a strike by janitors, porters, handymen and doormen was averted after they secured a 11.3 percent pay rise over the next four years (with the increase in benefits, that number is 13.28 percent). The apartment building workers union, 32BJ, a division of division of the Service Employees International Union, reached a tentative agreement Friday with the Realty Advisory Board, the two parties announced.
The agreement will bring average wages up to $55,000 for more than 30,000 employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island, making them among the highest-paid apartment workers in the country, according to RAB.
As many as 15,000 workers rallied earlier in the week ahead of the contract’s expiration on April 20 and voted to authorize their bargaining committee to order a strike if a deal was not struck.
The prospect of a strike had put property managers on high alert earlier this week. In some cases, memos were sent out to tenants asking them to volunteer for doormen positions. In one memo sent by TF Cornerstone, tenants were informed that in the event of a strike, they would have to remove their own trash and that no building employees would be there to sign off on mail deliveries.
One union member, Derbert King, a Queens superintendent who was quoted in a union press release, said the contract would allow him to “provide a decent life for my kids.”
Howard Rothschild, President of the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, said the board was “proud” to have reached an agreement. This was echoed by Hector Figueroa, president of the union, who said the deal was a “strong contract.”
The agreement must still be ratified by both parties before the contract can be locked in until April 2022.