NYC Council staff union approves first-ever contract

The union representing hundreds of New York City Council staffers voted to approve its first-ever contract this week, its president told Gothamist on Saturday.

The Association of Legislative Employees’ new contract with the Council will raise minimum annual salaries for councilmember aides from $30,000 to $55,000, establish yearly pay increases, and implement “just cause” rules around discipline and firings. The agreement also sets overtime rules and a grievance procedure for staffers reporting abuse or misconduct.

“We hope that these new rules of the road put an end to the 51 islands of these councilmembers and creates one much more united City Council with a real standard for abuse,” said ALE President Daniel Kroop, a principal legislative financial analyst for the Council. “This is historic.”

The ALE is the state’s first legislative labor union. It was formally recognized by the Council in 2021 after years of organizing against abrupt terminations, disparate wages and harassment by councilmembers.

The union covers aides to the city’s 51 councilmembers, as well as staff working for the legislative body’s central office.

“This is a sea change in terms of the relationship that staff will have to councilmembers or to their managers [if] they work in the central staff divisions,” Kroop said.

Members voted to ratify the contract between Tuesday and Friday.

Kroop said about 95% of the union members who cast ballots voted to approve the contract after the union and Council Speaker Adrienne Adams announced a tentative agreement earlier this month.

Adams and the city’s Office of Labor Relations will have to cosign the ratified contract before it takes effect.

Adams’ spokesperson Rendy Desamours said “the Council is proud to have an agreement on this historic first-of-its-kind contract.”

Adams previously praised the agreement in a statement earlier this month.

“Our Council staff are dedicated, hardworking public servants who help make our city better for all New Yorkers,” Adams said. “This achievement honors the generations of public service provided by Council staff for decades.”

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