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Developments Under the Displaced Building Service Worker Protection Act

The New York City Displaced Building Service Worker Protection Act (DBSWA), NYC Administrative Code §22-505 (DBSWA or the Act), which was signed into law in November 2002, significantly changed the landscape in connection with labor and employment issues upon sales or transfers of real property in New York City, or changes in building service contractors.

While before the Act's enactment, purchasers or replacement managing agents or contractors could not refuse to hire persons because of their union status or to avoid union obligations, purchasers and replacement contractors had no statutory obligation[1] to offer to hire a predecessor's employees, and thus there was no presumptive continuance of representation of the employees by the predecessor's union.

The DBSWA requires that any buyer, transferee, or successor employer of most New York City commercial and residential properties offer the incumbent employees jobs after the change in ownership or change in employer for as many jobs as the new employer will have at the property,[2] and to keep those employees in employ for at least 90 days unless it has cause for discharge during that "probationary" period. However, it is important to note that the law does not require a buyer or new employer to maintain the existing terms and conditions of employment (e.g., wage rates, benefits, seniority), nor to assume an existing collective bargaining agreement.

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