N.Y. Doormen Threaten To Walk Off The Job

A doorman, who preferred not to be identified, stands outside of his building in Manhattan. i

Their doormen's contract expires next week, and the union and building owners remain far apart. A doorman, who preferred not to be identified, stands outside of his building in Manhattan on Wednesday. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Spencer Platt/Getty Images
A doorman, who preferred not to be identified, stands outside of his building in Manhattan.

Their doormen's contract expires next week, and the union and building owners remain far apart. A doorman, who preferred not to be identified, stands outside of his building in Manhattan on Wednesday.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Some 30,000 doormen and other building workers could go on strike in New York City next week.

Their contract expires at 12:01 a.m. April 21, and almost 10,000 building workers marched up Park Avenue this week to draw attention to contract negotiations.

For Enrique Callo, who works in a building on the West Side, the issues are simple: "Fair wages, health benefits and keeping up with the cost of living."

Building owners are trying to cut their sick days in half and get rid of the pension plan for new workers.

Howard Rothschild is the president of the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, which represents building owners. He says real estate taxes have gone up, rents have been cut and apartments have lost value.

"The state of the economy in general in New York isn't very good, and specifically in residential real estate it's horrible," Rothschild says. "We need to find a way to run our buildings more efficiently and less expensively."

The average building worker makes about $40,000 a year with $28,000 in benefits. Rothschild says that's a lot of money. Building workers say it's not enough to raise a family in the city.

At the march and rally of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, Executive Vice President Kevin Doyle pointed to the buildings on Park Avenue.

He said the bankers on Wall Street who live there with their bonuses had one heck of a good time.

"Did you get invited to that party?" Doyle asks through a megaphone.

"No!" the union members answered in chorus.

"When we sat down in negotiations, they tried to give us the check," Doyle adds. "I ain't paying the check for the party."

The union and building owners remain far apart. There hasn't been a strike since 1991.

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