Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on December 6, 2021 that all private sector employers in New York City will be required to ensure their employees are vaccinated against COVID
- The NYC Health Commissioner’s Order specifies that by December 27, virtually all private-sector workers in New York City, are required to show proof of their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to their employer. Workers will then have up to 45 days to receive their second dose of a two-dose vaccine. Employers are required to exclude from the workplace all workers who have not provided the required proof of vaccination, unless an exception due to a religious or medical accommodation applies. Be advised that this mandate applies to all building service employees, whether union represented or otherwise. We have agreed with Local 32BJ and 94 that there is an obligation to follow this mandate. The written agreement with Local 32BJ is posted on our website.
- Employers must verify proof of vaccination, securely maintain records of vaccination or requests for exemption (if maintaining these records), and attest to the vaccination status of the in-person workers. The attestation must be completed and posted in a conspicuous location no later than December 27, 2021. All final decisions regarding accommodation requests must be in writing and provided to the affected employee.
- Employers who fail to comply with the NYC Health Commissioner’s Order may be subject to fines, starting at $1,000 per instance.
- If you have any questions concerning the implementation of the NYC Health Commissioner’s Order, please contact an RAB attorney to discuss.
Local 32BJ and the RAB have reached agreement to waive the Hero Act for all employees under the RAB Apartment Building, Commercial Building, Contractors, Security Officers, and Window Cleaner Agreements. Under our agreement, employers are required to adopt an airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan that complies with the Hero Act, which employers may do by adopting the current NY State Model Plan, available here: https://dol.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/07/model-airborne-infectious-disease-exposure-prevention-plan-p765.pdf. In addition, since these plans are not required to be in effect presently, all employers must abide by the Joint Building Safety Guidelines linked here.
Please contact an RAB Attorney to discuss rights and obligations under this new Agreement.
The RAB and Local 32BJ have reached an agreement enshrining both parties commitment to encourage and support all individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19. The agreement implements provisions for education of 32BJ-represented building service workers, offers guidance on logistics and incentivization of vaccination, permits employers to test workers for COVID infection, and to collect vaccination information from their represented workers. The parties believe that their agreement is a strong step toward incentivizing the vaccination of all building service workers and returning New York City to homes and offices without fear of unnecessary exposure to infection. If you have any questions about the terms of the new MOA, please contact an RAB attorney.
On April 29, 2021, the RAB reached agreement with Local 32BJ to memorialize the Industry’s agreements: (1) to move to federally subsidized COBRA healthcare coverage for eligible former employees; (2) determining eligibility and coverage of paid and unpaid COVID leave; (3) extending prior MOA agreements on 12 hour shifts, suspending better term and conditions clauses, and suspending application of AB time; (4) renewing the Industry’s ability to participate in New York’s shared work program; (5) setting a two week notice period for prior written notice of reduction in force in commercial buildings; (6) permitting reassignment/transfer, including to residential buildings, of workers who would otherwise be furloughed or displaced; (7) permitting extended temporary relief employment where a building faces an unforeseen staffing shortage; and (8) extending the seven day period that the Union has to cure a commercial or contractor employee’s missing election regarding extending recall rights.
The Union and RAB have reached an understanding about the application of the March 18, 2020 Memorandum of Agreement (the “March 18 MOA”) to layoffs and furloughs. It is the position of the parties that employees reduced or furloughed after April 6, 2020, may opt to receive pay out of up to half of their vacation up to a maximum of two weeks (80 hours) of vacation pay or to make immediate application for unemployment insurance, if otherwise qualified. Employees reduced or furloughed prior to April 6, who are currently receiving paid time off, may opt to discontinue such payments.
The MOA regards scheduling of regular employees and permits RAB employers to offer schedules of three days a week for twelve hours each (36 hours total), without incurring overtime costs for more than 8 hours in a day, but requires employers to pay 40 hours of the participating employee’s regular, straight time wage rate. To make use of this agreement, both the employer and participating employee must agree to the change.
This agreement permits residential employers to hire temporary workers under certain conditions, as needed to maintain building operations. Subject to the restrictions in the MOA, employers may treat these temporary workers in the same manner and with the same terms as employers would ordinarily extend to vacation relief workers. Time spent as a temporary worker hired under the temporary worker MOA will not count toward the five-month threshold otherwise applicable to vacation replacement employees.
The part-time employee memorandum permits the expansion of residential part-time worker’s schedules without becoming contractually liable for funds contributions for those employees who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements of the Apartment Building Agreement. Be aware, however, that ERISA and the Affordable Care Act may impose obligations that cannot be waived by agreement.
The better term or condition memorandum permits an employer to offer a wage or benefit incentive to employees during the term of the (60 days, unless extended), without becoming contractually obligated to continue such incentives.
This Memorandum of Agreement provides employers subject to the RAB Commercial Building Agreement and Contractors Agreement with the ability to more evenly distribute available work between staff members without incurring additional cost for “AB Time.” Specifically, this MOA eliminates the practice of AB Time until June 10, provided that the building in which the work occurs is significantly underutilized, the employees directed to the work of absent coworkers were performing less work than before the pandemic, and the additional work does not result in an unreasonable workload. Employers wishing to avail themselves of these benefits must provide prompt notice to the Union regarding workers utilized and occupancy of the building.
The RAB and Local 32BJ executed a Memorandum of Agreement to establish a framework that will permit employers to avoid layoffs/furloughs, and instead make application to the NY State Department of Labor’s Shared Work Program. The Shared Work program permits reduction of hours across a unit of employees, with the reduced hours payable by Unemployment Insurance. This mechanism permits an employer to retain more employees without a significant reduction in compensation to employees or loss of fringe benefits. If you have further questions about the New York State Department of Labor Shared Work Program, information is available at: https://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/employerinfo/shared-work-program.shtm. For assistance creating a shared work plan, please contact an RAB attorney.
The RAB and Local 32BJ reached agreement to extend the expiring provisions of the COVID 19 and Tolling Memoranda of Agreement through May 18, 2020. As indicated in the attached Extension MOA, all of the provisions of the COVID 19 MOA and the Tolling MOA remain in effect and suspension of bumping rights and termination pay continue through May 18, 2020. The parties also clarified that while exigent circumstances may require reductions in force without as much prior notice as the parties would otherwise want, that best efforts should be made to provide 7 days’ advance notice. The parties also agreed to restart the period for employee recall after layoff so that it begins to run on May 18, 2020. All other MOAs and expiration dates remain as agreed by the parties.
The RAB and Local 94, IUOE, executed a Memorandum of Agreement to establish a framework that will permit employers to avoid layoffs/furloughs, and instead make application to the NY State Department of Labor’s Shared Work Program. The Shared Work program permits reduction of hours across a unit of employees, with the reduced hours payable by Unemployment Insurance. This mechanism permits an employer to retain more employees without a significant reduction in compensation to employees or loss of fringe benefits. If you have further questions about the New York State Department of Labor Shared Work Program, information is available at: https://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/employerinfo/shared-work-program.shtm. For assistance creating a shared work plan, please contact an RAB attorney.
On May 29, 2020, Local 32BJ and the RAB reached agreement on terms to extend the terms of the interim memoranda of agreement the parties put in place during the term of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Specifically, the MOAs relating to: 12 hour shifts, prompt (1 week) notice of reduction in force, scheduling of part time employees, employment of temporary employees, AB Time, better terms and conditions, payment of vacation to laid off employees, and shared work, are all continued for the term of the new agreement.
The new Extension and Reentry MOA provides detailed guidance, among other things, on the process: (1) employees will be recalled into commercial and residential buildings; (2) how employees will be scheduled, take vacation, and have productivity measured; (3) how contractors’ employees will bump; (4) when and whether employees will be eligible for termination pay; and (5) by which employees will bid on new and different positions. The MOA also extended healthcare, legal, and training fund benefits for those whose benefits would otherwise terminate, for a period of 90 days.
The MOA also restarts the grievance machinery of the parties’ agreements, ends the tolling of grievances, and restarts Joint Industry Grievance Committee grievance hearings and Step II grievances by remote methods. Please contact the RAB directly if you have questions about any of the provisions of this MOA.
This MOA extends the terms and conditions of the Local 94 Shared Work MOA, and permits RAB employers of Local 94 members to continue to take advantage of New York State’s Shared Work Program until August 22, 2020. Please contact the RAB if you have any questions regarding participation in the Shared Work Program.
On June 22, 2020, the RAB and Local 32BJ signed a memorandum of agreement creating the terms of a voluntary early retirement incentive package (“VERIP”). The program creates a voluntary incentive for employees who are age 62 or older, and who have at least 15 years of combined service in Pension Fund Program A or B, to retire early. The VERIP broadly provides that eligible employees may receive termination pay, as calculated under the collective bargaining agreement applicable to their employment, plus a lump sum contribution to the eligible employee’s SRSP, funded by diversions from the 32BJ Health Fund, in an amount up to $20,000 (subject to IRS and other statutory rules and limitations). The industry was pleased to work with Local 32BJ to meet its request to provide enhanced retirement benefits for those employees and Local 32BJ members who wish to retire early in these uncertain times.
The terms of the VERIP will be set forth in specific documentation outlining the terms and conditions of the program over the following days. Eligible employees may expect to receive the appropriate documents in direct communication from the 32BJ Benefits Funds.
If you have any questions regarding this MOA or the VERIP program, please contact the RAB directly.
On January 25, 2021, the RAB and Local 32BJ reached agreement modifying the timing and implementation of recall and bumping rights. Employees with bumping rights will be permitted to exercise those rights on February 15, 2021. Employees with recall rights will be given the opportunity by March 31, 2021, to extend their recall rights through October 1, 2021, in exchange for foregoing contractual termination pay. Rebidding of commercial buildings will occur on November 1, 2021, and office cleaning productivity limits under the Contractors agreement will be continued through October 1, 2021.
Finally, Local 32BJ agreed that the RAB agreements provide a benefit comparable to or better than the NYC and NY State Paid Sick Leave Requirements, and have waived the application of those laws. Employers will be obligated to advance up to three sick days, however, to employees in their first year of employment, to be used for the purposes specified in the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act and the Paid Sick Leave Law.