Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
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Labor Issues

Publication Date: Spring 2000


Union leadership brought a new tenor to the contract negotiations between Local 32B-32J of the Building Service International Union and the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations Inc. (RAB). There was a great deal of participation by members of the Union's large negotiating team, which was made up both of Union professionals and rank-and-file members. Delegates recounted personal stories to illustrate the need for contract modifications, often putting a human face on issues under discussion. Lively give-and-take enabled each side to understand the goals or the objections of the other side as issues were raised.

The wage settlement provides for increases in the weekly pay of regular building service employees of $21 effective 4/20/00, bringing their weekly salaries to $617.73, then increases of:

  • $21 effective 4/20/01 and
  • $21 effective 4/20/02

Handymen will receive increases of:

  • $23 effective 4/20/00
  • $23 effective 4/20/01
  • $23 effective 4/20/02

Building Superintendents and Resident Managers will receive increases of:

  • $24 effective 4/20/00
  • $23 effective 4/20/01
  • $24 effective 4/20/02

In addition, employer contributions to the Annuity Fund will be increased from the current level of $8 per week to $9 per week effective 1/1/02 and then to $10 per week effective 1/1/03. This is the sum total of out-of-pocket increases for employers.

Improvements in benefits were also developed in a spirit of cooperation, tweaking actuarial expectations for existing fund capacities to provide for the following enhancements. Life insurance was increased by $5,000 for each Union member to $40,000. The Preferred Physicians Option (PPO) instituted three years ago has met with such success that the list of participating doctors and dentists was expanded greatly. Visits to any doctor on this list simply requires a $10 co-payment. Well baby care has been part of the Union benefits package for some time; this contract extended preventive care by adding coverage for annual physical examinations for healthy children over the age of three. Cost containment practices will be implemented in the health plan to maximize the effectiveness of each health care dollar.

Retirees were not neglected. Union members who are already retired will be awarded a 13th pension check this year, and the pension for all those retiring from September 1, 2000, on was fixed at $1150 per month. Although retirement age continues to be 65, workers with 25 years of service can now opt for early retirement with full pension at age 62.

Two new contract provisions bring this union and its members squarely into the 21st Century. The annuity plan will be morphed into a 401K plan where, for the first time, Union members will have the opportunity of making voluntary contributions of their own pre-tax dollars to enhance their retirement nest egg. And the training fund will expand its offerings to provide computer training, including online instruction components designed to enhance the efficiency of the workforce and to facilitate the use of the Internet in providing participant benefit information. Employees who successfully complete the computer training program will receive vouchers enabling them to purchase computers at deep discounts.

Employers will give employees three weeks notice of assignment changes requiring a change of shift (and continue one week notice for assignment changes that do not involve a change of shift).

A dismissed Superintendent who agrees not to grieve the dismissal will have 60 days (increased from 30 days) to vacate the apartment. When a dismissed Superintendent opts to grieve the dismissal, if the arbitrator determines that the dismissal shall stand, the superintendent shall agree -- in writing -- to vacate the apartment within 30 days. The employer will not seek a court order of eviction prior to the decision of the arbitrator. Moving expense payments for superintendents who are dismissed with less than 6 months of service is increased to $750 (from $500).

Contract provisions require that all discrimination claims be subject to arbitration.

The RAB has agreed to encourage all employers to cooperate in granting leaves of absence for Union business.

When a building changes ownership (including conversion from rental to cooperative or condominium status), the period for the new owner to notify the Union of its intention to join the RAB and to participate in the RAB contract is extended to 45 days (from 30 days).

All provisions of the prior contract that are not discussed above remain in force. This negotiation did not result in any modification of provisions relating to holidays, sick days, or entry wages. This is a pattern contract; it is not binding on the buildings that are members of the RAB, but CNYC and the RAB certainly do strongly advise its acceptance. If your building is an RAB members, you should have already received your contract. Now you have the option of signing on to this three-year agreement or entering into private negotiations with the Union if you seek modifications of any contract terms. For advice, you can contact the RAB at (212) 889-4100.


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