AS BRONX STRIKE LOOMS, APARTMENT BUILDING WORKERS RALLY FOR A FAIR CONTRACT
-- Thousands of Bronx Workers Could Walk Off the Job on March 15th—
--Strike Would Affect Close to a Quarter of a Million New Yorkers—
New York, NY—With a potential strike less than a week away, hundreds of apartment building workers, along with elected officials and community and union supporters, rallied today in the Bronx to call on the Bronx Realty Advisory Board (BRAB), an industry association representing building owners, to sign a fair agreement before their contract expires at 12:01 A.M. on March 15th.
“The workers who keep Bronx apartment buildings running and residents safe should be able to make ends meet,” said Kyle Bragg, 32BJ Vice President. “Today’s rally is about more than a new contract, it’s about pushing for good, middle class jobs for New York’s working families.”
The contract covers more than 3,000 superintendents, assistant superintendents, janitors, handypersons, porters, firepersons, doormen, elevator operators and garbage handlers working in over 1,000 residential buildings throughout the Bronx. Talks between 32BJ and BRAB have been underway since early February, and several issues, including health care and retirement savings remain, outstanding. The BRAB’s demands would make health care and retiring with dignity unaffordable for workers.
“I wholeheartedly support the union members in my district fighting against these punishing cuts; and I urge all parties involved to find a swift resolution that does not ask working families to make unreasonable sacrifices because of a fragile economy," said Congressman Jose E. Serrano. "New York’s housing and real estate market will recover, but the healthcare and retirement owed to these workers will never recover from the cuts proposed here.”
Workers are looking to maintain their benefits as well as moderate, cost of living wage increases. Under the current contract, the average Bronx apartment building workers’ wages range from $15.53/hr in the South Bronx to $17.07/hr in Riverdale, and they receive employer-paid family health care, pension and training in addition to vacation and sick leave.
“Supporting two kids on my own is tough,” said Jesus Cosme who is a widower and 20-year maintenance man in the South Bronx. “I need to keep my retirement benefits for their future and affordable healthcare for their wellbeing.”
Failure to reach an agreement before the March 15th expiration could lead to a strike directly affecting nearly 250,000 New Yorkers living in over 1,000 apartment, condo and co-op buildings in the Bronx.
With more than 70,000 members in New York, 32BJ is the largest private sector union in the state. For more information, visit www.standwithbuildingworkers.org.