The New York City Council’s unionized legislative staffers are pushing back against the Council’s plan to end the option of hybrid work by the end of October.
In a petition with more than 200 signatures sent to Council Speaker Adrienne Adams Wednesday, Council employees demanded she keep a hybrid work option for all employees and immediately bargain with them over the change.
“The council can’t afford the brain drain and high vacancy rates plaguing other parts of city government where remote work has been eliminated,” the petition reads. “Remote work is a noneconomic offering to staff that increases employee retention and well-being, and establishes a more accessible workplace.”
While a vast majority of the city’s private-sector employers allow office workers to split time between remote and in-person work, Mayor Eric Adams has insisted on a mandatory, full-time in-person policy for workers at city agencies.
The policy has been blamed for unusually high attrition rates across many parts of city government, from the Departments of Housing Preservation and Development, Transportation, and Sanitation, to the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
Last month, leadership in the council announced it would be following the mayor's lead, to the chagrin of council staffers, said Daniel Kroop, president of the Association of Legislative Employees.
“There’s been no explanation as to why the council should follow the same mistaken path that the mayor has led city agencies down, which councilmembers have publicly acknowledged is hurting agency retention and performance,” Kroop said.
Legislative aides formed a union last year and are currently ramping up to negotiate their first contract, City and State reported.
“The essential public servants of the City Council’s central staff are our engine, and returning to full-time in-person schedules is intended to help the Council and Council Members best serve this City,” said Breeana Mulligan, a Council spokesperson, adding individual members could decide to keep hybrid work schedules or not. “We believe this puts the Council in the strongest position to serve all New Yorkers.”
This story has been updated to include comment from a City Council spokesperson.