The Adams Administration reached a tentative agreement with the trade union District Council 37 (DC 37) on February 17th. The five year agreement will see fair wage increase every year with additional programs and benefits.
This is the first major labor contract between the Adams Administration and a trade union, with Mayor Adams saying how close to home the agreement was. The agreement will cover close to 90,000 municipal employees, which is 25% of the city’s unionized workforce. The agreement works retroactively, starting on May 26, 2021 and ending on November 6, 2026. In each year except for the fifth and final one, wages will increase by 3%. In the fifth year of the contract, there will be an increase of 3.25%. A 16.21% total increase of wages will be seen across the duration of the agreement. The agreement also states that every employee covered by the contract sees the minimum wage increased to at least $18.
A Significant Agreement
“Today, we are announcing the contract, a settlement with DC 37. This is not only a professional moment for me, but it’s a personal moment. Many people know on the campaign trail, I talked about my mom being a DC 37 food service worker. And I used to wonder, as a child, why would she carry the Tupperware with her to work every day when she would come home being a proud woman filled with the leftovers from working in the kitchen at Amistad Daycare Center. And she would just state that the stove cooked the food a little better. She did not want to tell us that she could not afford, on her salary, to be able to buy the groceries that she needed to raise my five siblings and me,” Mayor Adams said.
“I thought about that later in life as I was on the campaign trail, and as I saw throughout the years of becoming eventually a DC 37 member myself in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, never making enough to make ends meet, always seemed to be behind the bill collectors. And just wondering if we would be able to get the right contract, just make the right agreements, have the right healthcare, and to have the right just to be able to provide for our families. And then later becoming a union member in the Police Department and serving there for 22 years. This is in my blood. And it was so important for me to settle this contract with this union.”
“I am a blue-collar mayor who has stood shoulder to shoulder with working people all my life — to fight for fairer wages, better benefits, and a better quality of life,” said Mayor Adams. “This is the first tentative agreement we have reached under this administration, and it is a great deal for workers and fair to city taxpayers. This wouldn’t have happened without the tireless efforts of our Office of Labor Relations commissioner, Renee Campion, the partnership of DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido, and the dedicated members of this great union.”
“Our members held this city together during the pandemic — answering the call of duty during the darkest moments of the past decade,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry A. Garrido. “Through this contract, we’ve secured long-overdue raises for city workers, protected their premium-free health benefits, and lifted the lowest wages to an $18 minimum. We made changes that will help the city be competitive in its retention and recruitment of workers, including the creation of a child care trust fund and flexible work schedules with telecommuting options. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished for our members, and we thank Mayor Adams and Commissioner Campion for negotiating a fair and reasonable contract.”
Special Committees and Benefits
The contract will include certain programs and benefits. When the contract is ratified by DC 37 members, those eligible will each receive a one time bonus of $3,000.
The city and DC 37 will form a Flexible Work Committee. The work of the committee will be to make the working life of an employee easier. Discussions will be held to improve employee flexibility and morale. This will entail the creation of flexible and compressed work schedules. Remote work will also be a possibility, with a remote work pilot to be implemented by June 1st.
A Child Care Trust Fund will be established by DC37. This will provide its members with their child care needs with the city contributing $3 million dollars a year. Adams has made many efforts during his time as mayor to improve child care and affordability across the city.
The agreement will see the creation of an Equity Fund which will be administered by a committee made up of city and DC 37 representatives. The city and DC37 will set aside $70 million that will be used to make salary adjustments.
A Pandemic Response Committee will be created with city and DC 37 representatives. The committee will be tasked with matters of pandemic response and finding ways of dealing with future pandemics.
The tentative agreement will see a $4.4 billion expenditure.
“Thank you to DC 37 Executive Director Garrido for working with the city on this important contract,” said New York City Office of Labor Relations Commissioner Renee Campion. “This contract shows the progress we can make when labor and management work together for the benefit of the city and our employees.”