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.