Strike averted; union reaches agreement with Rockland building owners

Apartment residents in Westchester and Rockland can relax after word came that building owners have reached a tentative agreement with the union representing superintendents and maintenance workers.
Negotiations between the members of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union and the representatives of the building owners were deadlocked Thursday night. Supers and maintenance workers planned to strike if a deal isn?t reached on a new contract. Friday, both sides were back at the bargaining table. Union members were demanding a fair raise and wanted to protect their health benefits and pensions. But they say building owners want work rule changes, including answering emergency calls on their days off. They are also seeking a lower pay scale for new employees.
A strike that would have started Sunday has been averted. The new four-year agreement calls for a 7.4 percent pay increase over the term of the contract and sets a wage standard for all employees. The agreement is subject to ratification by union members.