Published: Spring 2014
The new four-year contract negotiated by the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, Inc. (the RAB) with
Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union will run until midnight on Friday, April 20, 2018. It
makes a number of modifications to the previously existing contract, while maintaining all other provisions of
that contract. Following is a discussion of the key changes in the 2014 contract.
WEEKLY WAGE INCREASES
CAPS ON INCREASES IN WEEKLY BENEFITS
Benefits for all members of Local 32BJ are historically negotiated
in the Commercial Contract and all increases take
effect on January 1st, and known for the year 2015. In this
Residential Contract the practice of establishing caps on the
amounts of employer payments for benefits in the outer years
has been continued. Should costs exceed these caps, the
difference will have to come from the wage package or
from contributions by employees.
The 32BJ health plan is administered jointly by representatives
of the Union and of the RAB. In recent years draconian
measures have been implemented to control the cost of the
plan without sacrificing the quality of care available to 32BJ
members and their families. In the 2010 contract, a Health
Study Committee was set up, with the goal of achieving savings
of at least $70 million annually in the expenses of the
Health Fund. This agreement continued the Health Study
Committee and the savings commitment, along with a commitment
to preserve a minimum reserve of 6 full months of
benefits costs and operating expenses in the fund.
To conform with requirements of the Affordable Care Act,
the waiting period for health plan eligibility was changed from
three months to 90 days. Vacation relief employees are not
entitled to health fund coverage for the first five months of employment.
The parties agreed that the paid leave benefits in the contract
are comparable to or better than those provided in the
New York City Earned Sick Time Act enacted in 2013, and
therefore the provisions of that City Act are waived.
Local 32BJ has a defined benefit pension plan for its
members. The pension funds are prudently invested, anticipating
annual returns on the order of 7.5%. During the
recent recession, the assets of the pension fund did not perform
at this level, placing in the red zone designated by the
Federal Pension Protection Act. A plan was put in place to
bring the Pension Fund out of this red zone, by increasing
pension plan contributions annually by $4 per week per employee.
Recent significant improvement in the performance
of the fund's investments make it reasonable to believe that
the fund should be out of the red zone by the end of this
Local 32BJ provides members with basic legal services
such as wills, divorces, and the sale or purchase of a home.
Employer contributions to this fund have been $3 per week,
or $199.60 per year. In the Commercial agreement, it was
agreed to suspend this contribution for the year 2014 and restore
it in 2015, continuing at the same $3 per week level in
2016 and 2017.
The Thomas Shortman Training Fund has been so successful
in securing grants for its many new programs that no
increase was deemed necessary in employer contributions to
this fund. At the request of management, two new classes will
be offered to 32BJ members, a three part online class to help
them recognize Elder Abuse and to know how to report instances,
and a curriculum called Ensuring a Respectful Workplace,
which will be offered at the Shortman School, and can also be requested onsite for all the staff
of a building.
It was also agreed to add to the
number of scholarships presented annually
to college or graduate school
bound children of 32BJ members.
NEW HIRE RATE
The contract modified the rate and
the term of starting salaries of new employees
who are new to the real estate
industry. Any such employee engaged
after April 20, 2014 will be paid 75%
of the full rate for 21 months and then
85% for the subsequent 21 months.
Existing new hires who were engaged
before April 21, 2014 will continue to
be paid 80% of the full rate for the first
30 months of their employ.
LEAVE OF ABSENCE
All leave time provided for in this contract
will run concurrently with any other
leave provisions of Federal, City or State
law that apply. Employees on the job for
more than 2 years but less than 5 years
will now be entitled to up to 120 days of
(unpaid) medical leave. Employees will
also be entitled to up to 4 weeks of maternity
or paternity leave (also unpaid).
Veterans Day was added to the choices
for each employee's optional holiday
(along with Martin Luther King Day, Eidal-
Fitr, September 11th and Yom Kippur).
This does not add to the number
of holidays for each employee, it simply
provides one more choice.
The Union committed to expeditious
utilization of Reduction in Force provisions
and to meet to address staffing
changes at buildings. If your building
plans to add temporary staff or wishes
to implement a reduction in force, a discussion
in advance with the RAB may
greatly facilitate this change.
Five arbitrators will be added to the
Office of the Contract Arbitrator, which
is jointly administered by the RAB
and the various Unions who use its
services. Arbitration has long proven
to be an effective way of resolving labor
disputes. It is far less costly than
legal action. The contract allows for
the deferral of unfair labor practices
filed with the National Labor Relations
Board to Arbitration.
SECURITY BACKGROUND CHECKS
In the past, employers had the right
to perform a security background
check on a new employee or "on
change of ownership or conversion of
the status of a building or employee".
With this agreement, employers will
also have the option of performing a
security background check on current
employees if there is reasonable
cause. Employers must first provide
written notice to the Union and to the
employee, which includes the location
and time of the incident causing the
employer to believe that the employee
may have committed an offense
in connection with his or her employment.
The Union may then object to
the background within five days and
if there remains an issue, there shall
be expedited arbitration to resolve it.
In the event that the Union does not
object, then the security background
check may be performed. Any information
obtained in the security background
check not directly related to
the incident which gave rise to the
check shall not be used for any disciplinary
action against the employee.
All security background checks shall
be confidential and may be disclosed
only to the RAB and the Union as
necessary and/or as required by law.
VETERAN TRANSITION ASSISTANCE
A new contract section was added to
facilitate successful transition from the
military into the civilian workforce, and
a Committee was created to assist in
facilitating this transition.
THIS IS A PATTERN AGREEMENT
For its residential members, the
RAB negotiates a pattern agreement,
which each participating building has
the option of signing. Buildings with
particular issues may opt not to accept
this contract and to continue their own
negotiations with Local 32BJ. Consult
the RAB at 212 889-4100 for help with
RESIDENT MANAGERS CONTRACT
Building Supers who have five or
more staff members whom they supervise
are generally covered by the
Resident Managers Agreement which
expires on June 20, 2014. The new
contract terms described above will
be incorporated into their new contract,
and they will be subject to the
salary and benefits increases listed
above for Supers.
BRONX CONTRACT NEXT YEAR
The contracts discussed above
cover building service employees in
Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and
Staten Island that are members of Local
32BJ. There is a separate contract
for Bronx buildings with 32BJ (formerly
32E) employees. It will expire on
March 15, 2105. A successor contract
will be negotiated by the Bronx Realty
Advisory Board (BRAB).