Hudson Valley property service union authorizes strike, demands fair contract

The local chapter of the nation's largest property service workers union has authorized a strike if leadership feels it will help them reach a new contract that is expiring at the end of the month.

Jonathan Gordon

Sep 20, 2022, 10:02 PM

Updated 570 days ago

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The local chapter of the nation's largest property service workers union has authorized a strike if leadership feels it will help them reach a new contract that is expiring at the end of the month.
"We're not asking for anything that's not deserving," said Shirley Aldebol, the Hudson Valley Director of 32BJ SEIU.
32BJ SEIU represents roughly 1,400 residential business workers in the Hudson Valley including door people, porters, handy people, and superintendents for roughly 100,000 residents and workers.
Hundreds of its members gathered outside the Eastchester Little League Field in Scarsdale to approve the strike if necessary and to build strength for ongoing contract negotiations.
"We're going to have to take it to the streets and demand that they respect us," said Aldebol.
The union is accusing the Building & Realty Institute of Westchester of cutting full-time jobs, eliminating health care, and offering little to no wage increases.
"It's not acceptable. They want to set us back years," said Tony Castiglione, a 46-year union member and 25-year superintendent of the Westgate Park Condominium in Yonkers.
David Amster, the Chair of the Building & Realty Institute of Westchester Labor Negotiations Committee says he is taking the workers' demands very seriously.
"We will be looking to negotiate a sustainable contract that takes the hardships on all sides into account," wrote Amster in a statement.
Amster and the Building & Realty Institute of Westchester say they are confident there is enough time before the contract expires to come to a reasonable and fair agreement.
"We are well aware that they have needed to deal with extraordinary circumstances during the pandemic. On the other hand, property owners, co-op, and condo board, and managing agents have had to deal with their financial hardships and challenges," wrote Amster.
The two sides have had four meetings and have agreed to the union's request for 100% employer-funded health care, pension, training fund, legal fund, and 401K, according to the Building & Realty Institute of Westchester.
But union members see the situation differently and believe they are still far apart on several issues including staffing and salary.
"If you reduce the staffing, the workload doubles which it has already tripled since the pandemic and it's going to affect the morale," said Castiglione.
People in the Hudson Valley who live or work in buildings that employ 32BJ SEIU members could experience dramatic maintenance cuts if the union strikes.
"They'll see dirty buildings. They'll see garbage not being picked up. They'll see things in their apartments not being fixed," said Aldebol.
The existing contract expires on Sept. 30.
Negotiations are expected to continue on Wednesday, according to the union.  


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