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RAB strikes contract deal with building service workers

The Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations (RAB) has reached a tentative labor agreement with 32BJ, the union representing commercial building service workers in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island. 

The contract, which was set to expire at midnight on December 31, 2019, covers more than 25,000 commercial building service employees, including office cleaners, maintenance workers, elevator operators, porters, lobby attendants, and some security professionals, who work in more than 900 commercial properties.


“We are proud to have reached a fair deal that thoughtfully considered the regulatory and legislative challenges – as well as a softening real estate market – facing the industry,” said Howard Rothschild, president of the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations.

“In anticipation of leaner economic times ahead, the wages and benefits we agreed to are a responsible solution for the next four years.”

The weighted average annual wage increase will be 2.54 percent, which will bring the total wage for a typical office cleaner to $61,304 by the end of the contract. The weighted average annual wage and benefit increase will be 2.87 percent.

Under the tentative labor agreement, New York City’s 32BJ members will continue to be among the highest paid commercial building service workers in the country in one of the most heavily unionized job sectors in the city.

The RAB and 32BJ said they will be continuing to refine and improve one of the country’s best healthcare plans.

32BJ members will continue to receive full family health insurance covering medical, dental, optical and prescription drug coverage. The employer’s healthcare costs will be controlled and contained over the next four years through RAB and 32BJ’s innovative health plan structures.

While other industries continue to see employer payments to health insurance companies skyrocket – without improvement in actual healthcare – the jointly managed, by labor and management, RAB/32BJ health plan continues to bend the curve of insurance costs, limiting future increases without sacrificing quality care.

Under the tentative agreement, employees will continue to receive a defined benefit pension and a 401K annuity with an employer contribution.

The tentative agreement is subject to ratification by both the union membership and RAB board. Once ratified, the contract will extend to December 31, 2023.


“Our bargaining committee worked very hard to get this strong new agreement, and we are quite happy that our work paid off,” said SEIU 32BJ President Kyle Bragg.

 “New Yorkers work hard to build justice in our communities. When we have good wages, strong benefits and fair working conditions, we can build our city’s middle class and a secure future for our children.”

The agreement was reached after more than a month of negotiations with the Realty Advisory Board, a group representing commercial building owners and cleaning contractors.

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