New York City reaches labor agreement with DC 37, largest municipal union


The city’s largest municipal employees union has reached a tentative deal with the Adams administration on a contract that includes pay raises and a bonus, the mayor said Friday. 

At a news conference, Mayor Eric Adams said a five-year contract agreement the city reached with District Council 37 will provide its members with 3% annual raises for the first four years, followed by a 3.25% raise in the fifth year.  

The deal includes a one-time ratification bonus of $3,000 for members, as well as a plan to raise the minimum wage to at least $18 per hour as of July 1, the mayor said in a press release. 

The agreement will take effect retroactively, dating back to May 26, 2021, and will cover nearly 90,000 employees, according to the release. It is set to expire on Nov. 6, 2026. 

“I have not made it a secret that I am a blue-collar mayor. I believe in the working men and women of this city, and what we have to offer,” Adams said, noting that both he and his late mother were once DC37 members. “Today, I am extremely proud to announce we have reached a landmark labor agreement with DC37.”

The raises included in the agreement are higher than the 1.25% raises the city had initially proposed.

In addition to the bonus and pay raises, the contract will establish a committee focused on exploring “flexible scheduling and other measures to improve employee morale and retention,” including remote work options, Adams said. 

“The committee will produce a pilot program that includes remote work by no later than June 1 of this year, keeping in mind equity all the way,” he said. 

A union-administered fund supported by $3 million per year from the city will help members cover their child care expenses, he said.

The union and city will also establish an “equity fund” to support recruitment and retention, as well as a “pandemic response committee” focused on ensuring members are protected in the event of another pandemic. 

“We cannot be caught like we were the last time,” Adams said, adding that union leaders “had to fight to ensure that their members were receiving the proper PPE” when the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York City. 

Social service workers, 911 operators, school crossing guards, food service workers, and parks and library employees number among DC37’s members, Adams noted. 

In a statement released Friday morning, DC37 executive director Henry Garrido said his union’s members “held this city together during the pandemic – answering the call of duty during the darkest moments of the past decade.”

Garrido joined Errol Louis on “Inside City Hall” Friday to discuss the agreement.

“We’re at a point now where we have a contract for the workers that sets the pattern for everybody else,” he said, discussing what the contract will mean for other unions negotiating with the city.

When asked if it helped having a former city worker as the mayor, Garrido said it did.

“I think this could not have happened if we had not had somebody who was willing to listen, but also somebody who sort of understood what it’s like to be in the shoes of a city worker,” he said.

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