New York City’s Sanitation Workers Lock-In New Four-Year Deal
(NEW YORK CITY) - New York City Sanitation Workers have ratified a new four-year contract with the city by a near unanimous margin, Sanitationmen’s Association President Harry Nespoli has announced.
The Workers, who are Members of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, backed the contract with 98% approval, he said.
The contract covers more than 6,400 Sanitation Workers and includes a 2.25% wage increase retroactive to January 20th, 2019, a 2.5% increase retroactive to January 20th (2020) and a 3% wage hike effective January 20th, 2021.
LaborPress asked if Nespoli if he thought the contract was sufficient to compensate the current dangers to these Essential Workers during the Coronavirus crisis: “When I first started negotiating this contract, it was ‘prior ‘to the virus. There was a ‘pattern’ (of negotiation) already by other Unions ‘that wasn’t enough, but (when the crisis hit) ‘I knew that in a crisis the city gets hit.’ I said, I will ‘go with the basic patterns of the Unions because I wanted a quick ratification.’ We shook hands across the table. ‘I myself got the virus’ - me and my wife – ‘and it knocked us out’ for about four weeks. That was ‘during the height’ of the virus - people ‘were going to the hospital and dying.’ ‘We were lucky.’ So I asked my Members to vote, then I asked them to ratify. I got the count back (4,132 voted yes and 70 voted no). We mailed (6,490) ballots and got back (4,202). ‘That’s good, considering what we are going through now.’”
Nespoli also told LaborPress about the importance of the work his Members do and how they deserve what they got in the contract - and more: “These men and women ‘are out there every single day.’ ‘They have to pick up the trash.’ ‘If they don’t, we have other problems’ - bacteria, rats, ‘everything else’ in the city. What this workforce has done since the virus hit ‘is unbelievable’ - ‘how they are working.’ The mayor recognized them in a press conference last week. Like other crises - like Hurricane Sandy - that ‘cripple’ the city, ‘we are going to help the city move forward in the right direction.’ ‘I felt in the beginning of the negotiations that this wasn’t enough, but I never expected what the city got hit with - the financial burden.’”
Nevertheless, Nespoli is happy the contract is ratified and says that he doesn’t think that Washington will forget about New York, and that in return, “As ‘far as I’m concerned, any Labor Movement they need – will turn around and help them get what they need.’”
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