New Yorkers Brace for Doorman Strike
By A. G. SULZBERGER
Published: April 18, 2010
It has been nearly two decades since New Yorkers faced their last doorman strike, but as the deadline for a new contract for building workers approached, the questions being posed throughout the city remained largely unchanged on Sunday.
Who will safeguard my apartment as I sleep? Greet my children when they come home from school? Accept deliveries? Clean the hallways? Sort the mail? Operate the elevator? And who, for goodness sake, will let the cleaning lady in?
Residents, co-op boards and building management companies have been busy planning for the sudden complications that could come at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday with the possible departure of the building workers who, among many other things, hold open the city’s doors.
The Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations has distributed a preparedness manual with recommendations for keeping buildings in operation in case of a strike. “A strike is not pleasant, nor should it be taken lightly,” according to the 45-page document. “During a period of work stoppage, pressures and problems develop which make building management very difficult.”
Throughout the city, security guards have already been alerted to arrive at buildings an hour before the negotiating deadline so they can take over for the first overnight shift in the event of a walkout. Many buildings would then adopt a more restrictive policy, with residents being required to use building keys, display identification to the security guards and pick up visitors or deliveries themselves. Some buildings are planning to take service elevators, storage rooms and garages out of operation if there is a strike.
“The whole operation of the building would basically be shut down and we’d rely on residents to pitch in just to get by,” said Dan Wurtzel, president of Cooper Square Realty, one of the largest residential management companies in the New York. “There’s a tremendous amount of preparation we have to undertake. Then, if it doesn’t happen, we can breathe a sign of relief. If it does happen, then we’re prepared to deal with it.”