New Law Requires Large Condo, Co-Op Buildings to Pay Staff Prevailing Wages
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law on Monday a measure that will require luxury condo and co-op buildings of 30 units or more to pay their maintenance workers a prevailing wage.
The legislation applies to buildings that receive the condo and co-op tax abatement, have at least 30 units, and a per-unit average assessed value (AAV) of $60,000 or more. Apartments that have an AAV of $60,000 typically sell for $800,000 to $1.2 million, according to union 32BJ SEIU.
SEIU, which represents roughly 30,000 building service workers in New York City, said that the new law would benefit 2,000 underpaid workers employed as doorpersons, cleaners and maintenance staff.
“This is a momentous day for building service workers and their families who will finally start earning family-sustaining wages,” 32BJ SEIU President Kyle Bragg said in a statement. “These luxury apartment buildings can afford to pay workers the prevailing wage, and frontline essential building service workers who risked their lives to keep New Yorkers safe deserve good pay & benefits.”
The prevailing wage schedule on file with the New York City Comptroller’s Office starts residential cleaners, porters and doorpersons around $26 an hour with $13.78 per hour for benefits, and handypersons at $29 an hour with $13.71 an hour in benefits.
“There have been many days when I skipped meals just to save a little money,” said Chris Sanchez, a porter at a building on the West Side of Manhattan. “I haven’t seen a doctor in two years because my job doesn’t provide health care, and I can’t afford to pay for a health insurance plan. Earning the prevailing wage means I can provide for my family without sacrificing meals, and hopefully I can put some money aside to fulfill my dream of sending my son to college one day.”
Rebecca Baird-Remba can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.