New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine July/August 2020 free digital issue

HABITAT

THE MARAIS

For two years, a group of service workers from the Marais at 520 W. 23rd St. has been trying to join the 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Standing in their way is the building's five-member board. It has refused unionization, and has not replied to communications from union representatives, reports Chelsea Now. According to the story, 80 out of 107 residents signed a petition asking the board to allow the workers to join the union, but the board hasn't budged, not even to negotiate.

One resident, Community Board 4 member Lowell Kern, decided to tell the service workers' story with an exhibition of photos and video that documents their two-year ordeal. Called "Beneath the Rails: Working Under the High Line," it took place in Kern's apartment. State Senator Brad Hoylman, State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried and City Councilmember Corey Johnson attended the exhibit's opening on Tuesday, Nov. 18. Also in attendance were 32BJ President Hector Figeuroa and 15 union members. At stake are a livable wage, comprehensive health insurance and a pension — non-union service workers who guard the doors and maintain the building reportedly get paid as little as $13 an hour, compared to the $21 an hour unionized workers receive, and are not offered the comprehensive health insurance and pension of their unionized counterparts.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a luxury building is actually chintzy, its non-union doormen argue. And a Staten Island board seems rather cheesy, if the parking-space perks its members gave themselves is any indication. A court puts the brakes on a co-op's attempt to be rid of a Citi Bike rack. And a condo-owner in Chelsea gets concrete results — from a construction site dripping it onto his patio. Plus, for condo and co-op boards, an attorney finds yet another novel way of dealing with unit-owner deadbeats.

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