32BJ SEIU and their allies never stopped working over the break. Their union continues with endorsements and threats of strikes.
Buildings service workers and essential workers across the country rallied on Park Avenue and demanded that the Real Estate Advisory Board on Labor Relations (RAB) accept a new contract for an estimated 32,000 concierges, handypersons, porters, doorpersons and superintendents. The new contract includes wage increases, no givebacks from the union and “fully employer-paid” health care.
“Health care is a cornerstone of 32BJ. It’s a strike issue,” stated Bragg. “The building owners want us to take money out of our paycheck to pay for health care every month, whether we use it or not.
We will not stand for premium sharing and we will not stand for anything that disrespects the time and work our members have given over the past two years. We’ve had to fight for every single thing we have in our union contract: paid days off, health care, workplace protection, a pension. This is no exception.”
The AmNews has chronicled the issues 32BJ SEIU affiliated essential workers have dealt with since COVID took over the country and the world. They continued to work. In 2020, they canvassed for current U.S. President Joe Biden. They now believe it’s time to pay up.
“This contract campaign has implications for every other contract in this union and other contracts across the city,” stated Crystalann Johnson, 32BJ bargaining committee member. “At the bargaining table, I stand up tall and proud because I know I have the power of a union behind me. Many of us have worked through several crises in this city and we are committed to the city of New York.”
Johnson isn’t the only one with issues concerning current negotiations.
“They’ve demanded that we pay into our health care,” added Stephen Yearwood, another member of 32BJ’s bargaining committee. “What a slap in the face. This has brought the union together and made us even stronger. I want to thank all the 32BJ members who have stood with us over the past few months, participating in actions, coming to membership meetings, making phone calls.”
RAB Associate Vice President Nick Bader said that they’re working to make sure all needs are met in negotiations.
According to RAB, “Local 32BJ residential building service workers are one of the highest paid in the country. The current labor agreement, reached in 2018, provided generous wage and benefits packages for workers including average annual wage and benefit increases of over 3.32% each year—totaling over 13.28% over the contract period, far better than what most industries experienced.”
“While we have made progress over the past few weeks [with] negotiations, we still have a gap to bridge,” Bader said. “As we enter the final few days of negotiations, we are committed to meeting with the union leadership every day to achieve a fair contract for both sides by April 20th.”
Out in New Jersey, 32BJ SEIU (13,000 members in the state) is throwing its hat back in the political ring announcing their endorsements in the city of Bayonne elections. The union’s picks? “Sharon Ashe Nadrowski for mayor, Jodi Casais and KT ‘Kim’ Torello for Council at-Large, Julie Sanchez Lynch for Council Ward 1, George J. Vinc for Council Ward 2, and Maria Valado for Council Ward 3.”
Nardrowski was appreciative of the endorsement.
“32BJ works each and every day to fight for the working individuals and their communities,” Nardrowski stated. “Their endorsement means the world to me, and I am honored to have their support and voice in our campaign.”
Union vice president and New Jersey State Director Kevin Brown said that Nardrowski would be the best candidate to help the city navigate the storms brought on by the economy and COVID-19.
“Bayonne is currently experiencing important changes,” stated Brown. “Good municipal leaders are paramount to the growth of a community. Their decisions have a direct impact on the lives of working families in the city…
“We are looking forward to working together through the recovery and building a Bayonne for all.”