web analytics

New York. Mayor Eric Adams, Lifeguards Union, Pave Way for More Lifeguards, More Open Beaches and Pools

Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue announced new arbitration awards and agreements with the lifeguards’ union to address lifeguard shortages, improve hiring, and expand beach and pool access. Changes include modified qualifications for shallow water pools and updated vision requirements, alongside increased pay and retention bonuses for lifeguards.

Modified Qualifications for Lifeguards Assigned to Shallow Water Pools Will Allow More Lifeguards to Potentially Start This Year, Be Hired in Future.

New York – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) Commissioner Sue Donoghue today announced that an arbitration panel has issued an award in the city’s ongoing negotiations with the bargaining unit representing city lifeguards. The award will functionally pave the way for the city to be able to hire more lifeguards, allow more swimming capacity at beaches and pools over the coming summers, and improve operations of the city lifeguard program. This builds on the city’s agreement with District Council 37 (DC37) earlier this year to permanently improve the pay of city lifeguards to $22 an hour as of this summer, along with a $1,000 per year bonus for returning lifeguards.

“Our beaches and pools are some of New York City’s gems – they’re great places for our kids and families to cool off, learn to swim, and enjoy the summer,” said Mayor Adams. “Today’s big win for public safety at our pools and beaches means we’ll be able to potentially hire more lifeguards for this summer and get even more in the pipeline for summers to come. All of our lifeguards will still be trained in CPR, first aid, and rescue skills, and we’ll be able to have our strongest swimmers focused on our beaches, where conditions are rougher. We want every New Yorker to have a great summer of surf and sand.”

“We’ve been working towards these changes to lifeguard qualifications since the beginning of the administration; it hasn’t always been simple, but it is important, to support fun in the sun and keep New Yorkers safe at our beaches,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “With this decision, it will be easier to hire more lifeguards for our beaches and pools, while maintaining our high standards when it comes to safety. A true win-win.”

“As in the rest of the nation, it has been an enormous challenge in New York City to hire lifeguards since the pandemic, and it has been clear for some time that real change was needed to grow our ranks,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Donoghue. “This new agreement comes in time to make an impact this year, and will also allow us to make the important structural changes needed and recommended by DOI to ensure that this program is run fairly and in the best interest of New Yorkers. Becoming a seasonal lifeguard is more than just a job – it’s an opportunity to be a part of a brave team dedicated to public service. This agreement will ensure that we’re able to increase our lifeguard ranks to better serve New Yorkers and keep them safe at our beaches and pools.”

“This award creates the largest changes to the lifeguard contract in decades, and lays the groundwork to allow NYC Parks to better recruit and retain lifeguards while improving its management of the lifeguard operation and addressing the deficiencies identified in the 2022 DOI report,” said Office of Labor Relations Commissioner Renee Campion. “I am also proud of the achievements made through bargaining with our partners at DC37 ahead of this season, allowing for permanent increases in the rate of pay and a retention bonus for returning guards. Although the city and the union did not always see eye to eye on every issue, we look forward to continuing to work with DC 37 to ensure we have safe and staffed pools and beaches for New York City residents.”

Among other things, the award will allow the city to modify the qualification for lifeguards assigned to shallow water pools and modernize the vision requirements to be more in line with state regulations and industry standards. The city will no longer require the timed component of the now-300-yard swim for shallow-water pools, but will maintain all other components of the training program, including the in-water and dry-land skill sets, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), first-aid, back-boarding, and other rescue skills. As a result, lifeguards currently in the training program who meet these modified requirements established by the decision are eligible to be offered positions at those appropriate pools this year.

Additionally, the city will, starting next year, be able to use a tiered vision requirement system that allows for lifeguards with 20/70 uncorrected vision in each eye, with 20/30 in one eye, 20/40 in the other eye with corrective lenses. With over 50 percent of Americans needing some type of corrective lenses, modernizing the vision requirements helps the city combat the lifeguard shortage, while still maintaining safety standards that are more than adequate for lifeguards working at smaller pools and retaining higher-vision standard for large pools and beaches. In subsequent years, lifeguards who meet these modified requirements will be eligible to participate in the training program, expanding the universe of potential lifeguard candidates.

Recruitment of new lifeguards for the 2024 summer season began last December with new policies designed to enhance the number of applicants. NYC Parks expanded the number of qualifying test sites and exam sessions – and debuted a new training course out of Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn – making it easier for candidates to complete the process, especially in the outer boroughs. Also new this year, applicants could present a letter from an eye doctor in place of taking a vision exam onsite at qualifying exams.

May 24, 2024 Manhattan NY

Source: Midtown Tribune news – NYC.gov
Big New York news BigNY.com

Please follow and like us: