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Striking distance: Don't look for me on the picket line

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Many of my colleagues don’t want or need a strike, but they seem to think it’s inevitable. They think the Realty Advisory Board representing the buildings may try and let us workers sweat it out a bit.

While a good part of me believes that everything will just blow over--if residents didn't think living in a doorman building was important, they would have moved somewhere else--another part of me is worried about not having a job, if only temporarily.

I know that not being able to bring home a paycheck and contribute to one’s household is something that has been felt by thousands of unemployed people around the city.

Yet our situation has another aggravation too:  If we’re out of work, it will have nothing to do with a company downsizing, but more to do with a supposed big brother fighting for “the workers’ interests.”

True, the RAB wants to reduce our sick days, cut overtime pay and possibly have us pay more towards monthly union costs to offset medical coverage. I guess for that I say, “Fight on big brother!”

But whether or not the amount of years remains the same or extended for a new worker to earn regular doorperson salary is really not my business. I have put in my share of years and don’t feel obligated to walk a line for an issue like that.

And while we’re out on the picket lines minus a paycheck, the union bigshots working behind closed doors continue to get paid—while we wait around to sign our name on a sheet that shows we put in some hours for the strike and (possibly) get handed some money in the amount of six to ten dollars.

(I say possibly because one worker who walked the line in ‘91 for the full amount of the strike says he is still waiting to see some money for his effort.)

So while buildings make ID badges and send around sign-up lists for who will sort the mail and stand at the door, lots of us building workers are trying every which way to refrain from spending big.

We’re putting off planning vacations just to make sure we have some cash lying around. Some of us have even inquired about finding a temporary job doing anything else.

A shared dilemma is the inability to tap into our vacation days for a quick up-front payout of cash. Our contract specifically states that all vacations are effective starting on May 1st. It basically ties our hands to our backs hoping for the best through contract negotiations.

If we do go on strike, I’ll probably log a few hours of strike time but would eventually find it difficult to come into the city everyday because I wouldn't be able to afford it.

Instead I’ll probably be practicing my hospitality skills: “Would you like cheese with those fries?”

BrickUnderground's 2010 Strike Coverage:

Strike epilogue: How did the union get your email address? 

Threat of strike diminishing amid "significant progress"

'91 strike wasn't that bad 

Insider's guide to the un-doormanned life

Predicting a strike: This time is different

NYC doormen to rally on UES tomorrow

Paying rent in a strike

Going rogue: Hitting the panic button in a strike

Relax, N.Y.: Doorman strike vote is just part of the dance

In case of strike, hold onto your gas cap

Doormen can't make ends meet, but the Mets tickets and golf outings are nice

Coming soon: A doorman and porter strike?

 

 

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