NYC Owners, Service Union Agree on Coronavirus Relief

The deal is intended to ease the medical and financial effects on 60,000 local members of the nation's largest service union, SEIU 32BJ.

With the vast number of commercial tenants in New York City relying on telecommuting, and an order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo for all non-essential employees to stay home starting March 22, building service workers will be experiencing some layoffs along with other coronavirus-related effects.

A tentative agreement announced Friday between New York City building owners and the union that represents 60,000 commercial and multifamily building service workers in the city is designed to alleviate some of that pain. Key provisions of the deal negotiated by the owners’ organization, The Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations Inc., and by 32BJ SEIU, the largest building service union in the nation, include:

  • A 30-day extension of health benefits for eligible employees laid off starting March 6
  • Two weeks paid time off with no loss of existing entitlements for employees who self-quarantine following workplace COVID-19 exposure
  • Permission for employees to use personal time off or statutory paid leave, if available, to self-quarantine 
  • Extending statutory paid leave provisions for the largest covered employer to employers of all sizes
  • Landlords agree to offer displaced employees temporary assignments at other buildings, without regard to seniority; commercial employees may be moved to residential buildings 

READ ALSO: The Simple Step to Help Your Tenants Amid the Coronavirus Crisis

The parties also formed a “coordination committee” that will immediately begin monitoring the virus and its impact on building employees.

Members of 32BJ include doormen, handypersons, superintendents, office cleaners, maintenance workers, elevator operators, porters, lobby attendants, and some security professionals in more than 3,000 residential properties and 900 commercial properties. Building workers are considered essential under the government’s definition.

Kyle Bragg, president of 32BJ SEIU, said in a statement that his members are on the frontlines of the pandemic and added that protecting the workers who serve  New York City’s buildings is crucial to the city’s recovery.