NYC gives lifeguards a raise — but only for this summer

Due to a shortage of lifeguards, New York City's Parks Department has had to cancel swim programs for the summer and close mini pools

But that should change now that the Parks Department and the union representing lifeguards have reached a deal after negotiations started in March. The starting salary for lifeguards goes up from $16 per hour to $19.46 per hour. The city will also pay a retention bonus to lifeguards who work every week in September through the end of the pool and beach season.

The lifeguard union, District Council 37, said the deal will help recruit and put in place enough lifeguards to get mini pools and programs up and running — and that equals safety. District Council 37 Henry Garrido said hiring more lifeguards will mean staffing the city's pools and beaches properly. 

This is all part of a bigger picture: lifeguard labor shortages are affecting several states across the United States. Low wages and training impacted by COVID contributed mean fewer available lifeguards, which translated into pool closures.

For parents and grandparents in New York, this deal is great news with kids out of school and most of the summer still ahead.

In a statement, Mayor Eric Adams praised the deal.

"Every New Yorker deserves to safely enjoy our city's public pools and beaches this summer and my team has taken extraordinary measures to make that happen," Adams said. "We negotiated for creation of a class of lifeguards who are restricted to mini pools and with this influx of mini pool guards we will be able to very quickly open all of our mini pools, an essential cooling center for young New Yorkers."

But the union said the downside is that the deal is in place only for this year.