The city's building workers who make high-rise living livable held a rally yesterday ahead of a union vote to strike if contract negotiations falter.
Thousands of workers and their union allies rallied at Park Avenue on the Upper East Side. SEIU32BJ, the union representing doormen, supers and porters is in negotiations with the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations over a new pact for 30,000 employees. They are demanding higher wages and improved health benefits. The current contract, which was last negotiated four years ago, will expire on April 20.The union was set to vote on whether they will strike at 3,300 buildings in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens if contract negotiations break down.
"We want to give the power to the community," said Hector Figueroa, the union's president.
The Realty Advisory Board couldn't be reached for comment but in previous news releases said it wants to work with the union to come to a mutual agreement.
The next meeting between the union and Realty Advisory Board will be on April 8.
Timothy Lebron, 42, of South Jamaica, said he enjoys his job as a doorman at a SoHo building but it is difficult to make ends meet.
"It's a struggle to live in New York City. We need a fair wage increase," he said.
Figueroa, who was joined by several elected officials including Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, said he was confident that the union and the board will avoid a a strike.
"We have to see, we're still negotiating," he said. "We still need to know what the wage increase will be."