Negotiations for a new, multi-year contract began today between the Bronx Realty Advisory Board (BRAB), a real estate industry association representing most Bronx building owners, independent building owners and managers outside of the BRAB and 32BJ SEIU, the largest private sector union in New York.
The contracts, which expire Tuesday, March 15th, cover more than 3,000 building superintendents, janitors, handypersons, porters, firepersons, doormen, elevator operators and garbage handlers working at more than 1,000 apartment buildings throughout the Bronx.
“The workers who keep apartment buildings clean and running smoothly for tens of thousands of Bronx residents deserve a fair contract with affordable healthcare and retirement benefits,” said Kyle Bragg, Vice President of 32BJ. “As we turn the corner of one of the worst recessions in our generation, we have to ensure working people aren’t left behind.”
As part of a new contract, workers are seeking fair wage increases and to maintain affordable family health care and funding for retirement.
“I’m not looking to get rich,” said Tony Ahmeti, a Bronx handyman with three young children. “I just want to be able to provide for my family and put food on the table. We’re not asking for nothing more or nothing less.”
Failure to reach an agreement by March 15th could lead to a strike directly affecting a quarter of a million residents living in over 1,000 apartment buildings across the City’s fourth, most populated borough.
“The Bronx is quickly becoming the last affordable borough for working families who are struggling to make end meet in this City,” said Bragg. “Without fair wages and benefits, the Bronx will no longer be a place that working families can call home.”
With more than 120,000 members, including 70,000 in New York, 32BJ is the largest private-sector union in the state. Their website can be found here.