NYC Doorman Strike Looming

The threat of  city-wide strike involving apartment superheroes (handymen, doormen and porters) is growing closer to a reality. These unionized workers are working to reach an agreement before Tuesday evening, April 20,2010 to negotiate higher wages, else a strike will commence on April 21st, leaving Manhattan’s doorman building residences in a bit of a tizzy!  Most assume this affects only the Charlotte Yorks of the city, and the sight of Upper East Siders taking out their own trash has a bit of an appeal. However, youngsters like myself also live in doormen buildings (converting 2-bedroom apartments into cozy 3-bedroom apartments for affordability!) and such a strike would affect some 3,200 apartment buildings and over 30,000 workers.

A strike would naturally jeopardize many services doormen building offer. For example, my building has sent notices saying that the following services would no longer be available:

  • Doormen. Access to the building will be granted through ID cards, thus sacrificing a great deal of security. Residents are “encouraged to volunteer their time in the lobby in two-hour shifts” acting as doormen to encourage safety. Please, who is going to sign up for that?!
  • Deliveries. No packages, groceries, dry cleaning, restaurant food, flowers, etc. may be delivered. This is the most dramatic loss, as the luxury of having deliveries while not present is the greatest advantage of doorman buildings. (It saves the trouble of finding the UPS/ FedEx/ Post Office and schlepping packages home.)
  • No move-ins/ move-outs. How would you like to close the lease on a beautiful new apartment and not be able to move there? Yikes!
  • Trash service.  All compactor rooms will be closed and recycling services unavailable.  This should be relatively easy problem to handle, though I’m not sure if I trust my neighbors to take out their trash as diligently as I would. As long as the stanky stank doesn’t build up in the hallways, this would be manageable.

According to my apartment building’s handyman, Nick, the union was not close to reaching an agreement last week, leaving him in a bit of a bind. Turns out, apartment workers make pretty decent wages, varying from $40,000 up to $68,000 for some doormen (including benefits and medical insurance)!  Nick said that if the workers strike they will only receive $50 per week from the union in exchange for their time protesting. He said the $50 stipend wouldn’t come close to what he needs to provide for his family, putting many of his union buddies in quite a bind.

Plus, most importantly, who is going to spy on Manhattan’s elite and leak gossip to the tabloids and twitter?? So come on, Local 32B/32J SEIU workers, reach an agreement for everyone’s sake!

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3 Responses to “NYC Doorman Strike Looming”

  1. Curly haired roommate Reply April 13, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Please 32B/32J SEIU workers for the love of the Convenience God of NYC, don’t make us take out our own trash….pleaseeee!

  2. What’s up PAP! Looks like I discovered your little blogging adventure…uh oh.

    But in all seriousness, I did work with the SEIU back in the summer of 2004 (It was during the Cleaver/Patterson election, but in truth it was a George Soros-led campaign to register voters for Kerry) and I must say that the union was a joke unto itself. Most workers sat around and produced nothing of value.

    I’ll save you the dissertation about the inherent dangers of statism and rent-seeking, but labor unions like the SEIU are relentlessly propelled into serving themselves first at the expense of their own workers and it disgusts me.

    Seacrest out.

  3. UPDATE: Walkout Averted!
    Apartment buildings reached an agreement with union workers for higher wages that will allow union workers to retain the same benefits they enjoy now. The negotiations went up until the midnight deadline last night. Phew, that was close!
    Full story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/21/nyregion/21strike.html?ref=nyregion

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