Negotiations between building service workers and the Bronx Realty Advisory Board (BRAB) went down to the eleventh hour on Tuesday, and just before midnight struck, both sides were able to avert a strike that would have included 2,712 workers across 894 co-ops, condos and apartment buildings in the Bronx.
The tentative agreement, reached shortly before the current contract was set to expire, is a four-year deal that includes a provision that allows BRAB to renegotiate the contract after one year — March 1, 2024 — if they are unable to meet the financial commitment of a four-year wage scale. The new wage scale includes $102.80 per week in wage increases over four years.
Prior to the new deal, 32BJ officials said Bronx workers, such as porters and door attendants, make roughly $19.66 an hour compared to a wage of $27.13 in the other boroughs.
Strike-ready Bronx building workers, realty advisory board differing on wages as midnight deadline looms
“We have a deal. Workers made their voices heard loud and clear and we are pleased to announce that after a long night of negotiations, the 32BJ SEIU bargaining committee reached a deal that preserves benefits and wins wage increases that reflect the sacrifices these Bronx workers made throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the hard work they put in every day to keep residents safe,” said Shirley Aldebol, 32BJ executive vice president and director of the Bronx Residential Division. “The deal protects healthcare with no premium sharing. It protects paid time off. It provides the economic security our members need in a time of rising inflation. The four-year deal includes a provision and compromise to assure the BRAB that they will indeed be able to afford the wage increases.”
The deal is awaiting a final ratification by 32BJ SEIU union members but the tentative agreement avoids what would have been the first-ever residential workers’ strike in the Bronx. 32BJ officials expressed satisfaction with the new contract terms, particularly the protection of pension and health care benefits, after a week of gridlocked negotiations.
BRAB officials expressed relief at an end to terse contract negotiations, which, they say, were complicated due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the Bronx housing market.
“We’re thrilled that we reached an agreement with SEIU Local 32BJ in contract negotiations. We are proud to offer its members in the Bronx a fair compensation and benefits package while recognizing the fiscal realities of the industry,” said Billy Schur, BRAB president.
Reach Robbie Sequeira at [email protected] or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes