Service workers avoid strike

The ball in Times Square may have dropped, but the bargaining unit representing the 32BJ Union did not drop the ball on worker contract negotiations.

After several days of meetings between the union and the Realty Advisory Board, the two groups came to a consensus — improving the contracts for over 22,000 citywide service workers and avoiding a strike.

The 32BJ Union announced on Friday, December 30 that an agreement had been met and a strike would not occur. The new, four-year long contracts include a 5.6 percent wage increase over the lifetime of the contract as well as bonuses totaling $1,100 and complete, employer-paid family health care coverage.

“The new contract is not just an important victory for office cleaners and their families, but for our economy and our city,” said Hector Figueroa, secretary-treasurer of 32BJ. “In these tough times the workers who keep New York City’s corporate offices and landmark buildings clean and well maintained have stood up for the good middle class jobs our economy and our city needs.”

Before a decision was made, workers gathered on Wall Street, outside Grand Central Station and at the Grace Building on Thursday, December 29 to march past their worksites in response to the contract negotiations. Workers took to the streets, spreading awareness about the previously impending strike. Because of the new agreement, however, a strike is no longer in play.

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