New deal allows thousands of commercial and residential properties in New York to force vaccination on construction service workers
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Thousands of commercial and residential properties in the city, including condos and co-ops, now have the ability to Compulsory vaccination for building service employees.
A memorandum of understanding, published on October 1 speak Real Estate Advisory Council on Labor Relations, a multi-employer association representing the city’s real estate sector, and SEIU Local 32BJ, the union representing 85,000 workers in the city’s construction services, discusses rules for implementing COVID-19 vaccine requirements for staff working in most buildings in the city.
Agreement says both parties “encourage and support” all people to get the COVID-19 vaccine, including managerial staff and tenants.
“The agreement is truly a testament to the good faith and cooperation between the RAB and the union in terms of our common interest in ensuring building safety for our employees, residents or anyone else who may visit the building,” said said Howard Rothschild. , Chairman of the Real Estate Advisory Council on Labor Relations.
Local 32BJ, which represents more than 175,000 construction workers, has agreed to allow employers to force unionized workers to receive the vaccine.
“At the end of the day, no one wants to see people get sick, be hospitalized or die, and I think both sides have clearly recognized that science and data show people will be safer and healthier. they’re getting vaccinated, so that was the basis of this deal, “Rothschild said.” I’m remarkably proud of the way the industry has acted and the way the union has acted and how we are all coming together to make buildings safer and healthier.
Now it’s up to the buildings to determine whether or not they want to impose vaccinations. Some buildings plan to mention the memorandum as an incentive for employees to get vaccinated before officially mandating it.
“We had a lot of staff who were concerned that there were no policies in place to protect them,” said Michael Rogoff, member of the residential committee of RAB and also chairman of AKAM, one of the largest property management companies in New York and Florida. Residents, who often come in close contact with workers like door and elevator attendants and housekeeping staff, were also concerned that some staff might not be vaccinated, he said.
“This is a public safety deal, and in most cases when you make a decision based on health and safety, it’s the right decision,” Rogoff said. “I think most people were really waiting for this to happen. I don’t think it will cause a division. I think it was the right decision.
The union and the RAB have made other previous agreements throughout the pandemic to ensure the safety of employees.
The other agreements served as a “springboard” to finally reach this agreement allowing the establishment of vaccination mandates, said Rogoff.
Previous agreements have made efforts to educate employees about the vaccine and make the vaccine readily available to employees. Agreements have been made regarding testing for COVID-19 and others have been made regarding the use of PPE, masks and sanitation. Thanks to the joint effort, many employees were vaccinated following these prior agreements.
“We tried to do everything to convince workers to get vaccinated, but at some point the only thing left is to force it,” Rothschild said. “The ultimate goal is to keep people safe and healthy, and that’s what we expect from it.”
The agreement outlines “the process and safeguards that must be followed in the event a site or employer intends to implement a COVID-19 vaccine mandate,” according to a Press release of the Realty Advisory Board and of the SEIU 32BJ.
Employers who wish to impose a warrant must collect information on employee immunization status, giving employees one week to respond to the request for immunization status information, the statement said. If and when employers seek to impose vaccination, employees will have at least four weeks notice to get vaccinated before the mandate goes into effect.
The agreement provides for the consequences if employees refuse to be vaccinated. The consequences include unpaid leave and termination of employment. The memorandum also covers an “extension of recall rights for employees on commercial properties,” discusses “the continued collaboration between employers and the union to provide education and information on access to immunization” and ” continuous protections related to the use of PPE ”, the press release mentioned.
Over the next week, the RAB will host a series of webinars for anyone who has questions about the deal.