Mayor Eric Adams announced that the city has reached a deal with the lifeguard union represented by District Council 37 to raise starting wages for lifeguards to $19.46 per hour this summer, as well as develop a training program to fully staff the city’s 17 mini pools.
A national lifeguard shortage had previously forced the city’s Parks and Recreation department to announce that they would not be hosting swim programs for the foreseeable future.
“Every New Yorker deserves to safely enjoy our city’s public pools and beaches this summer and my team has taken extraordinary measures to make that happen,” Adams said in a statement released July 6. “Today we reached a deal with the lifeguard union to address the immediate needs of our pools. “We negotiated for creation of a class of lifeguards who are restricted to mini pools and with this influx of mini pool guards we will be able to very quickly open all of our mini pools, an essential cooling center for young New Yorkers.”
The American Lifeguard Association estimated that one-third of the nation’s beaches and pools will be affected by the shortage, with the National Recreation and Parks Association saying 80% of parks and recreation departments cannot find enough staff to ensure safety while swimming in public pools.
“The most important result of this agreement is that visitors to the City’s pools and beaches this summer will be safe and protected by professional lifeguards who are properly trained to handle any water emergency,” said Henry Garrido, Executive Director of District Council 37, the public employee union that represents lifeguards and their supervisors in the Parks Department. “We thank Mayor Adams, Commissioner Campion and Commissioner Donoghue for listening to our concerns about the pressure of the national lifeguard shortage here at home. We will continue to work with the administration to recruit and retain the best candidates while protecting their collective bargaining rights.”
The increase in pay as well as the introduction of a training program will hopefully increase interest in job applications, and additionally will ensure that New Yorkers can safely enjoy pool time this summer.
“While these changes are a step in the right direction, our ability to safely open beaches and pools has been impacted by a national lifeguard shortage, and has also been held back by inefficient practices that are in dire need of further reform,” added Adams. “We will continue to work closely to correct course on policies that don’t serve New Yorkers and pool resources from all agencies to ensure a fun and safe summer.”
Last updated 7/6/2022 10:29 am