De Blasio, City Council give pay hike to homeless shelter guards

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Four thousand security guards in the city’s privately managed homeless shelters are getting raises, courtesy of Mayor de Bill Blasio and the City Council.

The just-approved $98.7 billion city budget steers an additional $40.5 million to contracted shelter providers to give security workers a pay hike to “prevailing wage” — a top priority of the powerful union SEIU Local 32 BJ, which has strong ties to de Blasio and the Council.

The funding will bring the security workers parity in pay with counterparts employed by the city-run shelters, who are represented by 32BJ, negotiators said.

About two-thirds of security officers in the city’s shelters work at the not-for-profit shelters but they earn up to $7,000 a year less than those who work in shelters managed directly by the city’s Dept. of Homeless Services.

The minimum hourly wages will jump from $15 an hour to $18.45 per hour, and total compensation will be $21.82 to $24.94 based on months of service, according to the union.

During the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of homeless individuals were transferred out of densely populated shelters to empty hotels to help curb the spread of COVID-19. They are being reassigned back to shelters now that COVID infections plummeted after many New Yorkers got vaccinated.

“We are grateful that Speaker Corey Johnson and Mayor de Blasio took action to make sure the city budget supports good, family-sustaining jobs for security officers working in homeless shelters operated by non-profit providers. These security officers have been working on the frontlines of the pandemic, making sure some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers had a safe place to come back to at night,” said 32BJ vice president John Santos.

De Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson said the pay increase was overdue.

“A Recovery for All of Us includes supporting essential workers. Security officers safeguard some of our most vulnerable neighbors. We are proud to invest $40.5 million to ensure the essential security officers in shelters run by private contractors stay in their jobs and receive the wages and benefits they deserve.”

Johnson said the agreement “finally guarantees these essential workers a prevailing wage. This is great news, and comes at an important time. They’ve spent the past year helping our city through its darkest hours, and now we’re looking out for them.”

Awash in nearly $6 billion in federal COVID relief aid, the city budget also awards not-for-profit human service providers a “one-time bonus” of $24 million “in recognition of the valuable work they do,” a Council document says

The mayor and Council also increased funding by $24 million to community groups running “Summer Rising” programs for kids.

Elementary school providers will receive a 30 percent increase and middle school providers a ten percent boost, records show.

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