2008-10-17 / Top Stories

Bills May Allow City Workers To Live Elsewhere

Law Would Impact DC 37 workers, others

City Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., Chairman of the Civil Service and Labor Committee, held a hearing on Monday, October 6 on two bills that would ease the residency requirements for members of District Council 37, the city's largest municipal union, and some other city workers.

Two years ago, DC 37 and the city settled a contract.

Part of the settlement included a provision to lift residency requirements for union members. If implemented, the bill would allow DC 37 members working for the city to live outside the five boroughs.

DC 37 has 121,000 members in 56 locals, representing a wide assortment of blue- and white-collar municipal workers in 1,000 different job titles.

Two residency bills were the subject of the council hearing.

One bill is the original bill that lifts residency requirements without limitations. Workers would be allowed to live in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Orange, Putnam, or Rochester counties.

The second bill would allow workers to live outside the city after two years of employment.

"This bill means so much to so many people," said Councilman Addabbo. "The amended version is the only version that saves city jobs for city residents." Members of DC 37 and smaller unions have been fighting for the right to live outside the city limits for years.

The city's uniformed workers - police officers, firefighters, correction officers and sanitation workers - are allowed to live in surrounding counties.

According to DC 37, 85 percent of members, regardless of whether or not they have to adhere to the residency requirements, reside in the five boroughs and more than likely will continue to do so.

All DC 37 Local Unions are in support of Int. 452-A. Local Union representatives testified that the high cost of living and lack of affordable housing are the reasons why the residency requirement should be removed.

The locals also indicated that because some titles do not have to adhere to the residency requirement and others do, the policy is unfair and unequal.

The City Office of Labor Relations will provide the Committee with a list of the 27 unions that have agreed to the contract terms.

"It is my hope that the Mayor's Administration and the City Council's legal staff can resolve any differences they have with the Residency bill and actually expand the bill to include all city workers," Addabbo concluded.

For further information please call Councilman Addabbo's office at 718-738-1111.

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