Landlords, Union Agree to New Four-Year Contract
Tobias Salinger Jan. 7, 2015, 12:59 p.m.
The city’s largest commercial landlords and property managers have struck a new four-year deal through the end of 2018 with a union representing 4,000 operating engineers and other building workers, representatives for both sides confirmed today.
Local 94 International Union of Operating Engineers, an AFL-CIO union with members at 500 commercial buildings throughout the city, reached an agreement with the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, which represents the real estate industry and boasts organization directors from big landlords like Brookfield Property Partners and SL Green Realty Corp. and big brokerages like Cushman & Wakefield and JLL.
The Realty Advisory Board’s directors approved the deal on Monday and union members voted to approve it last night, said Howard Rothschild, the president of the board.
“I’m certainly very pleased; we can all move on with four years of labor peace,” Mr. Rothschild told CO. “I think the deal was great, both for the union and its members and the real estate industry.”
The new contract, which replaces a prior one that expired at the end of 2014, calls for a new average wage of $37.83 per hour, or $78,690.35 per year, Mr. Rothschild said. Workers who maintain the heavy machinery and mechanics of the city’s buildings will get a roughly three percent raise over their previous contract, which mandated an average rate of $36.73 per hour, or $76,398 per year, he noted.
“We’re able to give a three percent increase in wages, but the overall cost of the deal is under three percent, which is an unusual deal these days,” Mr. Rothschild said. “It’s really because the parties have worked very hard over the past few years to reduce costs in health care.”
The contract also calls for first-year employees to earn 85 percent of the average wage, rather than the 100 percent they had previously been entitled to, as well as extended trial periods for new workers, he said.
Officials at the union, which has confirmed its approval of the contract on its website, and the firm that negotiated on behalf of the union in the contract talks, Pitta & Giblin, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.