More than two thousand New York City doormen and apartment building workers (members of 32BJ) voted early Thursday evening to call a strike if it becomes necessary. A strike of up to 30,000 workers could directly affect more than one million New Yorkers if negotiations fail to result in a new contract by 12:01am on April 21st at over 3,200 apartment buildings citywide.
Members in Brooklyn and Queens have already voted to authorize a strike.
A union representing thousands of doormen, porters, concierges and other apartment workers throughout the city is negotiating with an industry association representing building owners and managers. At stake are wages, health benefits, sick days and overtime rules.
"Today's strike vote shows we're determined to keep our city a place that working families can afford to call home," said Mike Fishman, President of 32BJ.
Speaker Christine Quinn said "Our City's economic downturn is no excuse to deprive hard-working people and their families of a fair wage or essential benefits."
Contract talks between 32BJ SEIU and the Realty Advisory Board (RAB), an industry association representing most building owners, began on March 9th. The contract covers doormen, superintendents, resident managers, porters, handymen and concierges at apartment buildings in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
Major issues include increasing wages to keep up with the rising cost of living, maintaining family heath care and ensuring adequate funds for training and retirement. In an effort to lower building operating costs, the union is encouraging employers to increase participation in a new "Green Buildings" training program.
With more than 70,000 members in New York, 32BJ is the largest private sector union in the state.
Ross Ellis is a proud member of the Real Estate Board of New York. She is also the NY Real Estate Examiner for Examiner.com