New York City Doorman Strike Averted

Real Estate Agent with Halstead Property, LLC

By now you know that local 32BJ, the union that represents New York City doormen and the Realty Advisory Board, a building owners association agreed on a new labor contract Wednesday, averting a strike which would have affected tenants in New York City.

According to WABC News, Howard Rothschild, president of the Realty Advisory Board, which represents building owners said: "This is a victory for building owners, employees and residents."

Minutes after the deadline last night they reached a settlement, which calls for a four-year contract with a nearly 10 percent increase in wages and no cuts in benefits for workers.

Over the four year agreement, building service workers will receive an increase in wages averaging 2.16% per year. The total package will average 2.92% per year.

The agreement also calls for protection to owners from unexpected future cost escalation for health benefits.

In addition to this important change, the agreement calls for a significant reduction in the health benefit cost starting in 2012. The projected reduction will cover a significant portion of the wage and benefit increase over the four year agreement.

A commitment by the union to create savings of at least $70 million annually in health care expenses enabled the wage increases, Rothschild said.

Mike Fishman, president of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, which represents 30,000 workers at 3,200 apartment buildings said "We feel it's a very fair agreement. It's good for the industry, good for the workers."

The agreement must be ratified by its members, said union spokesman Kwame Patterson. The vote could happen in about three weeks.

Nearly 1 million New York City apartment dwellers rely on doormen and other building workers to make life in a high-rise run smoothly.

But it's not just the apartment dwellers who would have been affected - it would have affected over 27,000 brokers and real estate agents operating in Manhattan, who represent buyers and sellers in Manhattan.

Building workers make about $40,000 a year, plus the tips and holiday gifts they receive from residents, which can add up to several thousand dollars.

In 1991 the strike threat was very real. It lasted for 2 weeks. In 2006, a strike was avoided when both sides came to an eleventh hour agreement.

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