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The Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, Inc. and Local 32BJ, SEIU reach tentative labor agreement for New York City's residential building service workers.  Click here for more info.   Please note as of May 13, 2014, both the Board of Directors of the Realty Advisory Board and the membership of Local 32BJ, SEIU have ratified the new terms of the 2014 Apartment Building Agreement.  You should therefore move ahead with implementation of the new terms and conditions contained in the Agreement, including making any retroactive payments that may be due.  If you have any questions, please call the RAB office and speak to one of the attorneys for assistance..

2014 Residential Negotiations

 THE REALTY ADVISORY BOARD ON LABOR RELATIONS AND LOCAL 32BJ REACH TENTATIVE LABOR AGREEMENT FOR NEW YORK CITY’S RESIDENTIAL BUILDING SERVICE WORKERS 
Respectful and Productive Collective Bargaining Results in An Early Contract

New York, NY (April 11, 2014) – The Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations (RAB) today announced that it has reached a tentative labor agreement with SEIU Local 32BJ, the union representing residential building service workers in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.  The contract was reached an unprecedented nine days before it was set to expire on April 20. The deal covers more than 30,000 residential building service employees, including doormen, porters, handymen and building superintendents, who work in more than 3,000 residential rentals, co-ops and condos.
“We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement well before the contract deadline,” said Howard Rothschild, president of the Realty Advisory Board.  “We have once again shown how labor and management can sit down and work together with a shared purpose and find common ground. This unprecedented early contract will allow workers, building owners and New Yorkers to go about their normal routines without having to worry about what will happen over the holidays. Our industry greatly values the 30,000 plus men and women who help take care of our buildings and look out for New York families. We are proud that they will remain the best compensated residential workers in the country and I want to commend the entire union negotiating committee for their hard work and commitment to reaching this fair agreement, particularly Hector Figueroa in his first negotiation as President.  I also want to acknowledge our negotiating committee for their leadership and tireless efforts on behalf of the real estate industry.”

Under the tentative labor agreement, New York City’s Local 32BJ members will continue to be the highest paid residential building service workers in the country in one of the most heavily unionized job sectors in the city. The agreement includes an average wage increase of 2.71% each year over the four year contract, or approximately 11.3% total. That will bring total wages for a typical doormen or porter from $44,389 to $49,402 by the end of the contract. The deal also fully protects the generous benefits packages that 32BJ members receive, including full family health insurance covering medical, dental, optical and prescription drug coverage, with no employee premium contribution, and a defined benefit pension fund and 401K annuity with an employer contribution.
The tentative agreement, which includes other measures to enhance employer flexibility, is subject to ratification by both the union membership and RAB board. Once ratified, the contract will extend to April 20, 2018.
The Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, Inc., (RAB)
The RAB, formed in 1933 as an organization though which employers in the building service industry could bargain with the union, has more than 4,000 members in New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Connecticut and Northern New Jersey. The RAB negotiates collective bargaining agreements on behalf of owners and operators of real property with unions that represent their maintenance and operating employees. They also advise and represent members in the administration of their collective bargaining agreements and in matters concerning personnel and human resources.

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Together Building NYC’s Middle Class: The Realty Advisory Board and Local 32BJ

The residential building workers labor agreement, last negotiated in 2010, covers more than 30,000 residential building service workers—including doormen, porters, handymen and building superintendents—in more than 3,000 residential buildings throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

The Realty Advisory Board (RAB) on Labor Relations, which bargains on behalf of the real estate industry, and 32BJ are currently negotiating a fair and reasonable contract for when the current one expires on April 20, 2014. 

  

The real estate industry and 32BJ working together are an economic engine in New York City

  • Together the real estate industry and 32BJ have created more than 60,000 jobs – roughly half of them work in the residential industry as doormen, porters, handymen and building superintendents.
  • These jobs are in all five boroughs. In fact, one in four residential employees works outside of Manhattan.
  • The real estate industry also creates tens of thousands of operating, maintenance and construction jobs as well.

 

The relationship between the industry and its workers is one of the best in the country

  • The positive relationship has allowed for constant communication and negotiations based on mutual respect that have led to uninterrupted labor agreements for more than two decades.
  • During the midst of the great recession, 32BJ residential workers saw no industry-wide layoffs, and received a 12% wage and benefit increase over four years – far better than what most sectors of the economy experienced.
  • In 2004, when the healthcare fund was running low on money, both management and labor worked together to identify savings while protecting members from having to pay healthcare premiums. In the end, the industry agreed to bail out the health fund so that the employees would not have an interruption in their health insurance.
  • After Hurricane Sandy, the real estate industry and 32BJ devised a way to continue compensating employees even when they were unable to show up to work after the storm ended.

 

Residential building service work is a great middle class occupation

  • 32BJ members are the highest paid and best compensated in the country.
  • 32BJ members are the most heavily unionized residential workers in the nation. The union workforce is expanding – bucking the anti-union trend across much of the rest of the country.
  • Each doorman/porter costs the building owner nearly $77,000 annually, including wages and benefits. Plus many receive tips and other employer compensation.
  • Each handy person costs the building owner more than $82,000 annually, including wages and benefits. Plus many receive tips and other employer compensation.
  • Superintendents and resident managers make even more and often receive a free apartment on site. 

 

The jobs come with fantastic benefits

  • 32BJ members receive full family health insurance covering medical, dental, optical, life insurance and prescription drug coverage, with no premium contribution from the employee (a benefit enjoyed by less than 5% of employees nationwide). 
  • All members have a defined benefit pension fund (a rarity enjoyed by less than 25% of employees nationwide) and 401K annuity with an employer contribution.
  • The job comes with generous amounts of paid holiday, vacation, sick and medical days off which for some employees’ tops have up to 49 paid days off.
  • 32BJ members can take advantage of training and legal benefits fully paid by the employer.
  • Job training courses allow advancement in 32BJ member careers, including some college credit courses and some of the most progressive Green Building programs in the country.
  • Legal benefits provide legal services free of charge, including immigration petitions for employees and their families, and other civil services such as house closings, wills, trusts, estates and divorces. 
  • The industry offers 32BJ members and their families a scholarship fund so they can access higher education. Since just 2009, the program has funded 170 scholarships to schools such as Cornell, NYU law school, Harvard and John Hopkins Medical Schools. 

 

The industry and union have an unprecedented relationship, partnering on a number of local and national issues

  • The real estate industry and 32BJ both believe in immigration reform, and have worked together to advocate for common sense reforms at the national level while fostering the city’s immigrant population locally.
  • Both the real estate industry and 32BJ encourage development while preserving and growing the stock of affordable housing.
  • The industry and the union have quarterly meetings with a continuing dialogue concerning important issues of mutual concern. The parties have worked together to achieve policies that are in their mutual interest or respectfully disagree. 

 

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Realty Advisory Board On Labor Relations, INC. | 2014