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Labor Relations Advisor, March 2015

March 30, 2015

SEIU Apartment Workers in the Bronx Reach Deal Days after Authorizing a Strike

On Thursday, March 12, the Bronx Realty Advisory Board which represents apartment and condo building owners, reached an agreement with Local 32BJ of the Service employees International Union (SEIU).  According to SEIU, its members authorized a strike only days earlier.

The workers “overwhelmingly” ratified the deal on March 20 according to the union. Exact turn-out numbers were not disclosed.  Approximately 3,500 doormen, porters, handymen, building superintendents and other employees who work in residential buildings in the Bronx are covered by the contract. The four-year agreement is effective March 15, 2015 and expires March 14, 2019.

The four-year deal increases wages by $10 per week in the first year, $20 per week in the second and third years and $14.75 in the fourth year. The minimum wage for a new-hire will increase by $45 per week. In addition, the employers will commence participation in the 32BJ retirement plan by contributing $5 per week effective April 2016.

A full summary of the contract can be found online.

According to SEIU, hundreds of workers rallied outside of Bronx Borough Hall on Tuesday, March 10 to show their solidarity in a campaign they called “Bronx Strong.” Congressman José Serrano, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., City Council members and community members joined the workers in the rally.

SEIU Bargaining Committee member Jay Etheridge said the union’s “goal at the table was to get a new contract that lets us continue to live in the Bronx and take care of our kids and protect our healthcare and retirement benefits.” He said the new contract accomplishes those goals and “shows our hard work is valued and appreciated.”

NLRB Judge Orders IBT to Stop Serving as Bargaining Representative for Employees at Terminal 2 at JFK

According to Law360, a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) judge found that the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) did not have support from the majority of Terminal 2’s custodial employees and that the union must stop serving as their exclusive collective bargaining agent.

Two employees of ISS Facility Services Inc., brought the case forward. ISS contracts with Delta to clean terminals 2 and 4 at JFK. Terminal 4 had been represented by the Teamsters for over 10 years, but Terminal 2 was previously represented by the United Service Workers Union, which disclaimed its rights in December 2013. 

The teamsters contented they should be considered the exclusive representative for both terminals since they had a majority support of the combined 89 employees at the two terminals. All 49 employees at Terminal 4 supported the union while only four employees at Terminal 2 offered support.

Gwenette Adams, an ISS employee claimed the IBT instructed her to pay dues or face termination.

Administrative Law Judge William N. Cates ordered the union to cease and desist from threating employees with termination. Cates also found that the employer, ISS, violated the National Labor Relations Act by allowing IBT exclusivity despite not representing a majority of the employees in Terminal 2.

According to Law360, the Teamsters’ attorney, Andrew S. Hoffmann, plans to appeal the decision.