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CONTRACT RATIFIED!

After 20+ months of negotiating and almost a decade of organizing, New York City Council staff have overwhelmingly ratified their first contract. Ninety-five percent of union members voted "yes" on the contract in April 2024, finally ending at-will employment and unsustainable wages for hundreds of public servants.

 

Even today, some full-time Council staff are earning just 30K annually, while living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. (See some of our media coverage here.) 

 

Congratulations to all Council staff, past and present, who contributed to this historic and hard fought victory.

 

Thank You -- to the New York City Central Labor Council, which collectively represents 1.3 million public and private sector workers, and the twenty other individual unions & locals, who joined our pickets and signed on to a public letter to "urge the Speaker and all Council Members to support ALE’s pursuit of a strong and comprehensive first contract."

 

We also thank the 750 members of the public who signed a petition urging the Council to commit to fair and regular bargaining sessions with ALE. And our great thanks to all our friends & allies who contributed to our legal fund.

 

This contract covers all Council Member Aides, Finance Analysts & Senior Finance Analysts at the City Council. It accomplishes 4 critical goals:

  • Ends Council staff's “at will” employment status, where they can be fired on the spot for no reason, and establishes “just cause” standards. 

  • Establishes a disciplinary grievance procedure for the first time, including independent arbitration. To our knowledge, a national first for legislative aides.

  • Ends economic exploitation through the establishment of minimum salaries and annual guaranteed wage increases.

  • Ends chronic, unpaid overtime work by establishing the first ever Comp Time policy for Council Member Aides (& reinstating Comp Time for Finance Division staff).

ALE's story has significance for the broader labor movement which is in the midst of a historic resurgence.

 

  • We are an entirely new union. Council staff built ALE from the ground up, putting our jobs and finances on the line to get it started. The last time a public sector union was built from scratch in New York City was over 50 years ago.

  • Our contract will serve as a groundbreaking model for the growing number of legislative staff across the U.S. who are unionizing. We have just negotiated the largest collective bargaining agreement to date for legislative workers in this country. From Congress to cities like L.A. and Chicago, legislative staff are fighting for better treatment on the job, and we are hearing from them.

  • The agreement we have reached with Speaker Adrienne Adams will be part of the legacy of the City Council. It asserts the dignity and value of every employee, and begins to address decades of abuse and exploitation of staff by elected officials.

 

If you are a City Council staff member and are not receiving our e-newsletters with information on the contract, or you have questions, email us at nyccouncilunion@gmail.com. Any Council staff member can receive our newsletters!

Council Staff's Fight for a Fair Contract:

After years of being grossly under-valued, City Council staff organized what is now the largest union of legislative employees in the U.S. Through their new union, staff have negotiated a historic first contract with City Council leadership.

 

Staff sought fairness from an institution that prides itself on its progressive values. Council Member Aides are public sector employees, and a large number of them provide direct services to NYC residents, yet they earn significantly less than other City workers performing the same functions and do not have the same workplace protections.

ALE strove to create a set of demands that are realistic and reasonable. The City Council sets its own budget and a detailed analysis by the union shows that salary increases, for example, can be provided with relatively minimal impact on the Council's finances. 

High levels of staff turnover, on the other hand, have hidden but long-term costs. The ongoing staff exodus from the City Council directly impacts the body's overall functionality and level of service to the public. An analysis by the State Comptroller found that the Council's staff vacancy rate was almost 6 times that of the average City agency between Fiscal Years 2012 and 2020. 

Why are staff leaving the City Council?

 

  • Pay – 45% of Council Member Aides earn less than $55K annually, as living costs soar. 

 

  • Lack of compensation for overtime – staff work long hours, logging an average of 600 hours annually on top of their standard work week. Council staff are some of the only public sector workers in New York City without a comprehensive overtime policy.

 

  • Lack of stability – Staff can be fired on the spot, for no cause. The Council lacks a comprehensive and clear policy for disciplinary & other workplace issues. Other City employees have the dignity and stability provided by an official grievance policy.


ALE Bargaining Committee Members (as of October, 2023)

Dan Kroop
Vinuri Ranaweera
Matt Malloy
Jalissa Quigley
Ben Jacobs
Alex Liao
Andrew Wright
Robert Aguilar
Berenice Navarette-Perez
Andrew Lane-Lawless
Casey Lajszky
Whitney Mulzac
Brandon Jordan
Emmet Teran

Theona Reets (1st alternate)

Malek Al-Shammary (2nd alternate) 

Dom Alexandre (3rd alternate)

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