Union Gets a Deal For a 40-hour workweek
By GREGORY N. HEIRES
The workweek of Local 983 Urban Park Rangers will increase to 40 hours under a tentative agreement between the union and the city. These workers will decide on accepting the agreement through a mail ballot vote, which will be tabulated on June 2.
The 300 Local 983 members are the only group of blue-collar workers on the city’s payroll who lack a 40-hour work week. Like most municipal employees, they work 35 hours a week.
If members approve the deal, they will receive an immediate 14 percent pay boost from these extra hours.
Combined with the pay hikes of DC 37’s 2010-17 economic agreement and other increases won by the local since 2010, the agreement means the starting pay of Urban Park Rangers will increase from $32,700 to $47,135 — a 44 percent jump.
Under the deal with the city and the Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Urban Park Rangers will enjoy a new recurring increment payment (RIP) schedule, which will provide $1,500 at five years, $1,778 at 10 years and $3,600 at 15 years. Before, Local 983 members only earned the 15-year RIP.
Top pay will reach $55,000. The agreement also provides a uniform allowance.
Union officials anticipate this agreement will pass because Urban Park Rangers have wanted a 40-hour workweek for years.
Previously, the workers were entitled to overtime after 40 hours. But the Dept. of Parks and Recreation often limited their extra work to five hours at straight time before overtime kicked in. Workers feel they will likely have regular overtime during the summer, when residents flock to the beaches, pools, parks and concerts.
“This agreement shows the relationship between the union and management doesn’t have to always be adversarial,” Local 983 President Joe Puleo said. “It also shows what can happen when you have a pro-labor mayor.”
The city benefits because the agreement should lead to less employee turnover,
and scheduling changes will result in some savings.
The agreement is part of Local 983’s long-term effort to improve the lot of Urban Park Rangers. Through legislation, the local won peace officer status that provides the workers protection against assault. Also, the workers are now able to retire after 25 years on the job, regardless of their age.
“We have waited for the 40-hour workweek for a long time,” said Urban Park Ranger Daniel Carter, a 10-year veteran. “This will help me pay my bills and bring my salary up to over $50,000. Everyone is seeing thousands of dollars in raises.
The DC 37 Blog is an online publication of DC 37, AFSCME, which represents 125,000 municipal workers in New York City.