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Latest News - November 2014

November 23, 2014
Union officials make $211M deal to settle labor contract for school cleaners

Union officials have made a $211.1 million deal to settle another outstanding labor contract — this time for cleaners and maintenance workers in the city schools.Under the terms of the nine-year agreement reached Wednesday, the city will give raises of 18% and bonuses of $1,000 to roughly 4,200 people who clean, make repairs and do odd jobs in public schools.

City officials said the total price of the agreement will be offset by roughly $21 million in savings to health-care costs. So the true cost of the deal will be about $190.2 million. The pact follows the pattern set by the mammoth $5.5 billion public school teachers contract settled in June. City officials said it will be covered by the current budget. Union leaders hailed the agreement as a win for hourly school workers who need the raises just to get by.

“I am proud to announce we negotiated a wage increase that allows members to keep up with the city’s rising costs — as well as maintain their benefits and job protections,” said Shirley Aldebol, Vice President of the 32BJ Service Employees International Union, which represents the workers in Local 891.Mayor de Blasio also praised the deal.“This agreement between Local 891 and 32BJ public school cleaners and handypersons means yet another step forward in ensuring respectful and productive relationships with the employees who serve New York City and its people,” de Blasio said.

The deal extends retroactively to 2007, when the workers’ last contract expired. School cleaners will see their hourly wages rise from $18.13 to $21.65 by 2016. Handymen who now make $20.53, will make $24.28 by 2016.Both categories of workers will see smaller wage increases starting Jan. 30. Those who qualify for retroactive raises will receive lump-sum payments in July.

Basilio Sobers, who works as a handyman at Public School 268 in Queens, said the bump in pay will make a difference.“This wage increase will help me pay for my daughter’s college expenses,” said Sobers, who lives in Queens. “As a single parent, this contract means a lot to me.”



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