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The city’s sanitation workers union and the Adams administration have reached agreement on a five-year, two-month contract that, pending ratification by the rank and file, will bring the city’s Strongest compounded pay increases of nearly 19 percent over the life of the deal. It also consolidates the Sanitation Department’s updated mission by doing away with separate waste and recyclable goals in favor of an “all-materials” target.
The deal, retroactive to Dec. 28 of last year and lasting through the end of February 2028, conforms to the pattern agreed to by the uniformed unions earlier this year. It would give the 7,100 members of Teamsters Local 831, the Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association, increases of 3.25 percent the first two years of the deal, of 3.5 percent in the third and fourth years and of 4 percent starting in December 2026.
Following that final increase for the last 14 months of the contract, top base pay for sanit workers would reach $99,129 a year, Labor Commissioner Renee Campion said Friday at the administration's announcement of the deal at City Hall.
The Sanitation Department’s commissioner, Jessica Tisch, said the agreement reflects the changed landscape for waste collection. “This contract moves from an old way of doing business with separate tonnage targets for every different waste stream to a single combined, fair target. In so doing, it accounts for the universal curbside composting program now in the process of expanding citywide,” Tisch said at City Hall.
Mayor Eric Adams, speaking alongside the several city and union officials who gathered for the announcement, said the agreement was both symbol and substance of his tenure as “a blue collar mayor” representing “men and women who actually make this city operate in a real way.”
“They show up. They show up every day. They show up during Covid. They show up during snowstorms. They show up when we are dealing with real problems,” he said.
Starting pay also increases
The tentative deal includes funding that will bump sanitation workers’ starting pay to nearly $50,000 in its final year. “Listen, we're hemorrhaging city servants and we must be competitive and attractive enough that people want to go into the professions that we have,” Adams said.
The contract with Local 831 was the city's last remaining agreement with both its largest unions and its uniformed unions. It also marks the fastest a mayoral administration has reached agreements with 90 percent of the city’s workforce, Adams said.
The contract will cost about $400 million and is fully funded in the city’s labor reserve fund and the financial plan, Campion said. “We've reached historic agreements with our largest unions and some of our smallest unions and so many in between,” she said at the City Hall announcement. “And I am proud, so proud, to sit at the table across from our unions every single day who represent our dedicated city workers who keep the city of New York running for all of us.”
The contract also provides sanit workers with access to a fully paid, one-week leave benefit for non-birth parents, a provision Campion said was “extremely important” to the local’s members. It is the first such benefit afforded to a city uniformed union, she said.
The Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association’s president, Harry Nespoli, who has headed the union since 2002, credited the mayor and Campion for their roles in securing the agreement and Tisch for “some great ideas.”
“But again, what they did was they included the person that comes to work every single day and loads the truck and cleans the streets and does the work,” Nespoli said. “They know what they have to do. They'll go out and do it.”
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