Contract for 1,400 Superintendents, Porters, Handypersons and Other Workers in Hudson Valley Set to Expire September 30th
WHITE PLAINS, NY — September 12, 2018 — On Thursday, September 13, hundreds of residential building workers from across the Hudson Valley will gather at the Westchester County Center to authorize their union to call a strike if a fair new contract cannot be negotiated before the current one expires on September 30. The contract is an agreement between the workers’ union, 32BJ SEIU, and the employers and building owners that provides for family health insurance, retirement, fair wages and basic rights on the job.
Since August 15, a committee of elected workers and 32BJ officers has been bargaining with representatives of the Building and Realty Institute of Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Region Inc. (BRI). Workers on Thursday will authorize 32BJ to call a strike if these contract negotiations fail. The strike would cover 1,400 superintendents, porters, handypersons and other service employees who work in 500 apartment buildings, co-ops and condominiums across the region.
“Fourteen hundred workers and their families depend on the health insurance and wages that we earn serving our tenants and shareholders. If the BRI is unwilling to reach an agreement with us that protects our health benefits and provides fair wage increases, we may be forced out on strike. We hope it doesn’t come to that,” said Joe Rodriguez, a superintendent at a building complex in Scarsdale and member of the bargaining committee. “I have worked as a building superintendent and porter for almost 40 years, ever since I left military service. My coworkers and I help our buildings’ tenants in countless ways every day, and we are asking for nothing more than the essentials we need to continue that service.”
“These dedicated, experienced workers provide a service depended on by 100,000 residents across the Hudson Valley,” said Lenore Friedlaender, Assistant to the President of 32BJ SEIU. “The real estate industry in the region is booming, outperforming the nation and the state. Even so, the BRI has so far proved unwilling to discuss the basic terms necessary for us to move forward. This strike authorization vote is crucial to allow us to make progress at our next scheduled meeting, which takes place in the final week before the expiration of the current contract on September 30.”
“The service provided by the men and women of 32BJ SEIU is vital for the prosperity of our economy and well-being of our communities,” said George Latimer, Westchester County Executive. “I am proud to stand with them at their strike vote meeting to show them that Westchester County stands with them. They are determined to continue providing services for their tenants and their families, and we in the County need them to do so.”
With more than 163,000 members in 11 states and Washington DC, including 4,000 members in the Hudson Valley, 32BJ is the largest building service workers union in the country.