Union painters in New York City finalized a collective bargaining agreement on May 3 that makes several wage, benefit and work-rule concessions to employers, a result contractor groups hope will set a pattern for other city pacts now being negotiated. The Association of Master Painters of New York Inc., District Council No. 9 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, and AFL-CIO ratified the new contract after 10 weeks of bargaining.
The four-year contract includes a wage freeze in the first year and wage hikes totaling $4.50 in the second, third and fourth years, averaging about 2% a year. It also includes a 20% payroll cut for non-Manhattan commercial work. Overtime benefit costs, which were based on time and a half, were cut to standard rates to achieve an estimated 20% savings. The union agreed to cut 10% off health-care costs, and employers will make a 75¢-per-hour contribution to the Health and Welfare Fund. All maintenance painting contracts will be based on an 80% rate. Work rules were eased to allow variable start times between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.