Thousands of unionized doormen and other apartment workers voted last night to authorize a strike later in the month, potentially leaving New Yorkers everywhere (or just on the Upper East Side) to sign for their own packages, pick up their own laundry and find other building workers to fall in love with. Though doormen in Brooklyn and Queens approved the measure earlier this week, workers in Manhattan approved the measure last night, authorizing a strike if negotiations can't create a new four-year contract by 12:01 a.m. on April 21. Union 32 BJ president Mike Fishman said in a press release, "Today’s strike vote shows we’re determined to keep our city a place that working families can afford to call home." The biggest issues are wages, health benefits, sick days and overtime, according to 1010Wins.
The contract between the union and the Realty Advisory Board ends on April 20, and workers are anxious that the dispute won't be resolved in time. One rep from 32 BJ of the Service Employees International Union told the Daily News, "Every day my fellow workers ask, 'What's going on?' and I have to give the same answer: 'They're still negotiating.' I just hope that both sides don't play hardball." The union has set up a petition on their website, asking supporters to "Let the Realty Advisory Board (the association that represents building owners) know that you support fair pay and secure benefits for NYC apartment building workers." City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is also behind the union, saying at the meeting last night, "Our City’s economic downturn is no excuse to deprive hard-working people and their families of a fair wage or essential benefits."
However, high-rise residents shouldn't be shaking in their Manolo Blahniks just yet. Though they've come close a few times, doormen have not had to strike since 1991. Real estate lawyer Marc Luxemburg told Brick Underground the threat is "part of the standard dance, and you can’t read anything into it.” But just in case it does turn into something serious, the Realty Advisory Board has published this handy Strike Preparedness Manual [PDF] for landlords and building management, complete with suggestions to learn how to work freight elevators, keep fuel in good supply and provide for the elderly.