Real Estate Weekly
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RAB, building service workers together strengthen our industry

By: John Banks

This past Friday, the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations (RAB) announced that it had reached a tentative four-year labor agreement with SEIU Local 32BJ, the union representing the commercial building service workers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.

The agreement — which was reached 13 days ahead of the deadline — covers more than 23,000 operators, porters, lobby attendants, and some security professionals in over 1,200 commercial properties.

The tentative agreement, subject to ratification by both the union membership and the RAB board, includes an average wage increase of 2.69 percent each year over the four year contract, and will bring total wages for a typical office cleaner from approximately $49,760 to $55,324 – a 10.75 percent overall increase.

It also includes a renewed commitment by each side to collaboratively find additional cost savings and efficiencies to continue keeping health care costs down. Once ratified, the contract will extend until December 31, 2019.

This labor agreement, in addition to Local 32BJ’s growing workforce in solid middle-class jobs, will ensure that New York City’s real estate industry remains healthy, the importance of which cannot be overstated – when the real estate industry is healthy, it is a vital resource for New York City’s economy that cannot easily be replaced.

Last year, annual taxes from the real estate industry generated $16.4 billion, or 41 percent of all of the City’s taxes collected. This $16.4 billion is an increase of 6% from 2013, and the 41% share of total City taxes is 3 percentage points higher than the 2013 figures as well.
The new contract agreement is another example of how the real estate industry, through revenue-generating properties throughout the five boroughs, continues to help make New York City a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

Agreements like the one between the RAB and Local 32BJ are instrumental in keeping the wheels of the City turning.

I applaud the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations and Local 32BJ SEIU for their commitment to strengthening the real estate industry by reaching an agreement that is practical and based on sound economics.

I want to particularly commend Howard Rothschild, president of the Realty Advisory Board, Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ, and the members of both negotiating teams for once again modeling a successful labor-management relationship and reaching an agreement that fairly compensates workers and protects their benefits an impressive 13 days before the contracts expire.
The Real Estate Board of New York is proud to represent the New York industry in providing first-rate, union jobs that provide workers with quality wages and benefits.
I greatly appreciate the work of all 32BJ employees, including the 23,000 commercial building service workers who work tirelessly to maintain our industry.

In other REBNY news:
REBNY’s first Breakfast Club seminar of 2016 will be on January 12. From 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., join your fellow REBNY members at this free seminar in our Mendik Education Room, where our top industry leaders will be imparting hints and tips to improve your business. For more information, contact Yesenia Dhanraj at, or check the Events section of

REBNY’s Residential Shark Night Roundtable will be on January 14 from 5:30pm to 9 p.m. in the Mendik Education Center. Our Shark Night Roundtables provide a valuable vehicle for delivering knowledge to our members, and has been a well-received resource by our newer members who use this event to learn from some of our industry’s “sharks,” or top performing professionals. To register, contact Yesenia Dhanraj at

REBNY’s 120th Annual Banquet will take place on January 21 at the New York Hilton at 1335 Avenue of the Americas from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Join us for our most anticipated event of the year as we honor New York’s top real estate professionals and present our prestigious awards to Daniel Brodsky, the Stacom Family, Jeffrey Levine, William Montana, Edward Piccinich, and Steven Marvin. For tickets or sponsoring/advertisement information, contact Maryann Aviles at

Request for Housing for Veterans in Need: New York City is seeking housing for homeless veterans, with the greatest need being for studios and one-bedroom apartments. The City has committed to ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015 and has worked to ensure that all veterans have a rental subsidy. There are also landlord and broker incentives available for those who place veterans in housing.

Learn more about the program, or if you have an apartment you’d like to make available, please visit For information on how to make a donation, visit or contact Johann Hamilton at 212-616-5251.

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