Whenever 32BJ residential workers are asked what they love most about their jobs, the answer is usually the people who live in the buildings. We enjoy watching children grow up, and helping elderly residents to remain independent. The relationship between the workers in an apartment building and families who live there is an integral part of New York City life.
New Yorkers know the value of a well-trained, caring staff in the buildings where they live and place a high priority on that security and peace of mind.
“I’ll say the best thing about my job is the relationships you build with the residents in the building,” said Eugene Amankwah, a doorman on the Upper West Side. “And also the joy of serving people who really appreciate what you do.
“All the people are so down to earth,” he said.
New York’s residential building workers’ effect on residents’ lives can be as dramatic as helping pregnant women in labor getting to the hospital or rescuing an elderly gentleman from a fire in the nick of time or as simple as a friendly greeting at the end of a long day.
We are the eyes, ears and arms of the building. We are the first to notice a change in someone’s routine and are able to check on elderly or disabled residents who may need assistance. Many senior citizens say they would not be able to continue to live on their own without the help of their doormen and other building workers, who often pitch in to run errands or assist with household tasks.
“Not everybody can do this job,” Amankwah said. “You have to be ready to deal with problems and solve them when they arise.”
An intruder – or even an unfamiliar presence in the building – immediately will attract a building worker’s attention. Busy parents often rely on the building staff to help keep track of their active children.
As we begin bargaining our New York Residential Contract, it is absolutely vital that this trusting relationship upon which New Yorkers depend must be preserved. We keep residents safe and secure in their homes, and we need a contract that provides security for our families as well. Those residents who rely upon the staff in their buildings who are “making New York home” for them are keenly aware that it is increasingly difficult for working families to continue “making New York home” for themselves.