Press Release: The Building & Realty Institute and 32BJ SEIU Reach Tentative Agreement on New Four-Year Contract, Covering 500 Residential Buildings and 1,400 Residential Building Service Workers
The Building & Realty Institute and 32BJ SEIU Reach Tentative Agreement on New Four-Year Contract, Covering 500 Residential Buildings and 1,400 Residential Building Service Workers
Both Sides Thoroughly Considered the Economic Hardships created by the COVID-19 Pandemic and Inflation to Reach a Fair and Reasonable Agreement
(ARMONK, N.Y.) After weeks of negotiations between The Building and Realty Institute (BRI) and 32BJ SEIU, the two parties tentatively agreed to a four-year agreement that will affect 1,400 residential building service workers in 500 co-ops, condos, and rental apartment buildings across the Mid-Hudson region.
The agreement, which takes the place of the previous four-year contract which expires at midnight on September 30, is pending a ratification vote by the members of 32BJ. Once ratified, the contract will extend to September 30, 2026.
The tentative agreement continues to provide full employer-funded health benefits covering medical, dental, optical and prescription drug coverage. The agreement extends full employer-funded pensions and access to the union’s legal services and training funds, as well as retaining the generous holiday and leave policies from past contracts. Driven both by the essential services building workers provided during the pandemic and the decades-high levels of inflation, the contract contains historic-level wage increases for all four years of the contract, with sufficient reforms on the margins to make sure the costs of the contract are predictable and sustainable for middle-class co-op shareholders, condo residents, and property owners, including those whose buildings contain a substantial percentage of below-market rate and rent-stabilized units.
David Amster, the Chair of the BRI Labor Negotiations Committee and the president of the property management company Prime Locations, Inc. said he and the negotiating committee were focused on achieving balance throughout the negotiations.
“Our goal was to negotiate a sustainable contract that takes the hardships on all sides into account,” Amster said. “The BRI recognizes and is grateful for our 32BJ workers – who have had to deal with extraordinary circumstances during the pandemic while playing a vital part in managing our buildings and keeping building residents safe. On the other hand, some of the co-ops I manage are facing double-digit increases in their maintenance fees because of skyrocketing costs for heating fuel, electricity, insurance, and building supplies and repairs.
“We wanted to respect our workers’ efforts, reliability and professionalism during these difficult years but still achieve an agreement that would be affordable for the middle-class residents in these not-for-profit buildings. It took time, effort, and patience, but we believe this agreement does both,” said Amster.
Lisa DeRosa, president of the BRI and DeRosa Builders, agreed that the tentative agreement was fair to all sides.
“We take great pride in our ability to be a source of solid, middle-class jobs, and to provide excellent services to the residents of our buildings. Despite massive economic headwinds from the effects of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act, the eviction moratorium, the extra costs to keep residents and workers safe during the pandemic, and the rise of inflation, we believe we have an agreement that is both respectful for these essential workers and sustainable for our residents. We are grateful for the performance and commitment of our residential building service workers during these challenging times and looking forward to further partnership during the challenges ahead.”
The Building and Realty Institute of Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Region (BRI), based in Armonk, has more than 1,800 members in fourteen counties of New York State, including home builders, commercial builders, renovators, property managing agents, co-op and condo boards, and owners of multifamily apartment buildings in many communities, as well as suppliers and service providers with a special focus on real estate. The BRI’s mission is to improve the relationships among builders and real estate business owners to the mutual advantage of the industry. For additional information, please visit https://www.buildersinstitute.org.