No Strike for NYC Office Building Cleaners

December 31, 2007

Thousands of doormen, elevator operators and building cleaners in New York City who had threatened to walk off the job on New Year’s Day resolved their contract dispute Saturday by agreeing to a new four-year contract.

The $6.8 billion deal will cover 26,000 workers who keep some 1,500 commercial and office buildings humming throughout the city.

Union officials said the deal will give its members a 16 percent pay increase over the life of the contract. Pension benefits were also improved substantially, said Michael Fishman, president of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union.

“We achieved our goal to secure real raises that will help hardworking cleaners continue to live in the city where they work,” Fishman said.

The contract, which still needs to be ratified by the union’s membership, would take effect Jan. 1. By the end of the four year deal, cleaners would be making an average $22.65 per hour, compared to $19.50 now. Employer pension plan contributions will go up 40 percent.

The deal was reached two days before the union’s contract was set to expire.
Union officials had been seeking higher wages, saying workers deserved a cut of the booming revenue from the buildings, which are mostly in Manhattan.

James Berg, president of the Realty Advisory Board, which represents the buildings, said in a statement that the final package “recognizes increases in the cost of living and preserves our employees’ health, pension and other important benefits that come with their jobs.”

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