New York — Contract talks between National Domestic Workers Alliance managers and staffers have stalled after a year of negotiations, according to the union representing NDWA workers.
NDWA management was reportedly notified of workers’ desire to form a union at the end of June 2020, but CWA Local 1180 says it wasn’t until Sept. 30, 2020 that management voluntarily recognized the unit. Workers began bargaining six months later. Management, however, reportedly “pushed back with no transparency.”
“NDWA has been unrealistic in negotiations, failing to adequately address our requests or provide proof that their finances do not allow for any reasonable wage increases,” CWA Local 1180 President Gloria Middleton said in a statement. “Negotiations mean give and take on both sides, but NDWA management is refusing to give; they simply want to take.”
According to Local 1180, it presented a “full economic proposal with innovative ideas” on Oct. 20, 2021. The “clear, just, and equitable compensation plan” was to take effect Jan. 1, 2022. The union says as NDWA has grown, their wage structure has not reflected change within the organization. For example, the union says some employees have been assigned managerial titles, yet do not supervise any employees; there is no clear role in wage placement with seniority or locality not being taken into consideration; and job responsibilities are not a factor in the wage configuration.
Luis Benitez-Burgos, CWA District 1 representative overseeing NDWA negotiations, said staffers have reached “peak frustration.”
“As early as May 2021, we explained to management the salary inequities and the challenges we have seen,” he said. “We told them this was going to take time, resources, and creativity to address and make sure we develop a compensation program that is fair, transparent, and equitable,” No matter how many times we sit to bargain, they do nothing to advance the negotiations, simply telling us they don’t have the economic resources to address our requests.”
While the union presented a general compensation and benefit proposal on Aug. 2, 2021, Local 1180 says it wasn’t until March 31, 2022, that management responded, claiming they needed to do a financial review. They then hired a consultant to do market research and came back with a proposal that rejected most of the staffers’ requests, the union says.
“We presented our last proposal on May 31, 2022,” Benitez-Burgos said in a statement. “It was a review, and by then we had eliminated demands such as an increase on our parental and sabbatical leave, COLA, high-cost city allowance, and an education differential, among others. Management has not proposed anything new in writing since then.”
Middleton and Benitez-Burgos both said that NDWA management is leaving the union with few options.
“All management knows they need to negotiate in good faith when it comes to contracts. NDWA management, however, is doing everything they can to prevent negotiations from coming to a successful end. They are leaving us no choice but to pursue other options as a means of securing a contract for our members,” Middleton said.
On June 15, 97-percent of the membership voted to request CWA Executive Board authorization for a strike if needed.