Local 32-BJ of the Service Employees International Union, which represents the building workers, and the Realty Advisory Board have been negotiating over tough issues including wages, health benefits, sick days and overtime. The board had proposed wage and benefit cuts due to the tough economic times, but the building workers were indignant, saying they were struggling to get by as it was.
If the strike does happen, reports the NYTimes today, some 3,200 residents of co-ops, condos and rentals in the five boroughs will be forced to take out their own trash, sign for their own packages, sort mail, clean hallways, operate elevators and ensure building security—all things they’ve come to rely on having done for them (usually at a premium price).
While many New Yorkers voiced support for the building workers, others were not so sympathetic towards those fellow (most likely well-off, as doormen buildings usually rent for a premium price) residents that would be deprived of their services in the event of a strike. At least one saw a positive angle to the situation: Mary Ann Rothman, executive director of the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums, told the Times that “If there is a positive thing to be pulled out of this, it’s that it is an opportunity to get to know your neighbors…and to come together to combat a little bit of adversity, because this is not the end of the world, though it may appear that way if the strike goes on.”
UPDATE: Though talks continued right up until the midnight strike deadline last night, a deal was reached that averted a strike by doormen and other workers (due to have begun at 7 a.m. this morning). The owners agreed to a new four-year contract, including a total pay increase of nearly 10 percent and no significant cuts in benefits for the workers. (Source: The New York Times)