Landlords extend building workers’ benefits in light of pandemic

Union secures more protections for laid-off or quarantined employees

Mar.March 20, 2020 04:00 PM
32BJ SEIU President Kyle Bragg and Realty Board on Labor Relations president Howard Rothschild (Credit: Facebook, Linkedin)

32BJ SEIU President Kyle Bragg and Realty Board on Labor Relations president Howard Rothschild (Credit: Facebook, Linkedin)

Landlords and union building employees have reached an agreement to provide the workers extended benefits in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations and 32BJ SEIU agreed to a package of health benefits and protections for residential and commercial building workers, the groups announced Friday.

It allows workers who were laid off or ineligible for health care on or after March 6 to get an additional 30 days of coverage — twice what they had previously.

Also, workers who self-quarantine because of workplace exposure to the virus are entitled to two weeks of paid time off. In cases where a building reduces its staff, employers will attempt to place workers at other locations temporarily.

“This is an important first step to protect 32BJ building service workers who have been on the front lines of this pandemic,” Kyle Bragg, 32BJ president, said in a statement. “We will continue ongoing discussions with the industry to obtain appropriate protections for our members to allow them to support their families in these trying times.”

The groups launched contract negotiations in February for the 14,000 security officers whom 32BJ represents in the city. The contract is set to expire next month. The Realty Advisory Board declined to comment on the status of those talks. 32BJ didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday ordered all employees who work for non-essential businesses to work from home, starting Sunday. Essential businesses and services, which include security, building maintenance and cleaners, along with construction, are exempt from the new rule.

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