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Latest News - November 2011

November 15, 2011
By: New York RealEstateRama

Union Proposals Focus on Protecting Good Jobs to Strengthen the Economy –

New York, NY – November 15, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Negotiations for a new contract covering more than 22,000 commercial office building cleaners began today when 32BJ, the city’s largest private-sector union, presented its proposals to the Realty Advisory Board (RAB) — an association representing most of the city’s commercial building owners, managers, and cleaning contractors.

“Our proposals are aimed at preserving good jobs and maintaining the middle class that our city’s economy needs to grow,” said Mike Fishman, President of 32BJ. “When thousands of hardworking men and women win good jobs with decent wages and benefits, it’s a win for working families, our communities and the economy.”

Real Estate Industry on the Upswing

Contract talks open as the $22 billion Manhattan commercial real estate industry experiences its busiest third quarter in three years — with sales activity reaching $6.3 billion, according to Crain’s. That puts 2011 on track to be the third highest total-sales year on record, surpassed only by the boom years of 2006 and 2007. In addition, there have been six straight quarters of rental gains with top quality buildings up 10.7 percent in the past 12 months, according to CoStar.

Working Families Struggling to Make Ends Meet

The top rate for commercial office cleaners represented by 32BJ is $22.65 an hour or $47,000 annually, significantly less than the household income that independent researchers have shown is necessary to support a family of four.

“With the real estate industry back on track, there is no excuse to keep office cleaners from getting the wages they need to continue to make ends meet.” Fishman said.

Building Worker Strike Could Affect More than 1,500 Office Buildings

Failure to reach a new contract by December 31, 2011, could lead to a strike of more than 22,000 commercial property service workers at more than 1,500 buildings, including landmarks such as Rockefeller Center, the Met Life building and the Empire State Building.

“I have to support my wife and kids,” said Ivan Almendarez, a commercial office cleaner in downtown Manhattan. “I can’t afford to go backwards.”

With more than 120,000 members, including 70,000 in New York, 32BJ is the largest private-sector union in the state



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