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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Apartment Protection and Affordable Door Person Act of 2010

Big news over the wires. The threatened Doorman Strike in New York City has been averted, Deal Reached That Averts a Walkout by Doormen:

The owners of more than 3,200 apartment buildings in New York City reached an agreement on a new labor contract with the union that represents about 30,000 doormen, porters, janitors and building superintendents, averting a strike that was due to begin at 7 a.m. Wednesday.
Had the strike happened, the consequences would have been unthinkable:
The agreement headed off what would have been the first strike by the doormen since a walkout in 1991 that lasted 12 days and left garbage piling up in front of some buildings where doormen were picketing. If the doormen and other service workers had gone on strike, residents of the affected buildings would have had to perform their own chores, like sorting mail, screening visitors, hauling garbage out to the curb and operating elevators.
Although I have poked some fun at how New Yorkers bitterly cling to their doormen, these people perform a valuable service which allows New Yorkers to avoid unpleasant tasks and keep out the riffraff.

Two additional points.

First, I don't like the term "doorman" because it is not gender neutral. From now on, we will refer to "door people" or "door person" when talking about doormen the people of no specific gender who stand by the door. I demand that The NY Times stop using such sexist language.

Second, we should recognize the right to a door person as a fundamental right for anyone living in a major city.

The government should subsidize the cost of door people for middle and lower-income buildings, and impose a surtax on wealthy buildings. In 2010, no one should go without a door person.

We could call such legislation The Apartment Protection and Affordable Door Person Act.

Related Post:
Clinging Bitterly To Their Doormen

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  1. I'd like to propose an amendment requiring all doorperson buildings to install solar powered, gender-neutral door robots. The Federal Door Robot Attire Commission (to be appointed) can determine how the door-robots should be costumed. I suggest Roman Centurion attire, but let's see what the Commission decides.

    Kidding aside, many NYC doorman buildings built during the last 30 - 40 years have no buzzer system, so the absence of anyone guarding the door creates a genuine security problem.

  2. @Bill Dyszel - You are on to something here. We could use stimulus funds to help the buildings install buzzer systems. After all, it worked so well with the weatherization program.

  3. You can't make suggestion like this. Some liberal will read it, think it's a great idea and propose the legislation, stealing your wording verbatim and not crediting you along the way.

  4. Great idea!

    They should also give all the poor peeps their own washroom ladies. Oops. That doesn't sound p.c. enough, does it? Washroom people?

    I always know my life is on the up-swing when I don't have to bother with those tedious paper towel contraptions.

  5. Look for my next post:

    Why You Should Support The APADPA Act of 2010...

    It's the new battlecry! A chicken in every pot and a person at every portal.

  6. Yes, weatherization, I forgot that part! The doorpersonrobots should be weatherized. And they should all get at least 40 miles per gallon. Gallon of what? The commission can decide.

  7. yeah, seriously, i have lived in apartments ever since i stopped living at home with my parents, and i have never had a doorman. i have no idea why anyone thinks they need one beyond maybe security value.

    and buzzers are admittedly of limited use, because you can usually get into most places with buzzers or key cards just by waiting until someone authorized is about to enter, and then slipping in behind them. but in that case i don't want a doorman. i want a security guard.

  8. @AW Again, kidding aside, a doorman is a terrific convenience. They take deliveries and screen guests, you can leave a package for someone else to pick up when you're out, leave messages for someone who will come by, etc. Anyone who works from home would find it valuable to have the services a doorman (concierge) offers. Can you live without a doorman? Sure. You can live without a car, too, but it's really convenient. That's why we tip our doormen at the holidays - they're really valuable.

    Still, it's fun to make jokes about fancy-pants city people with doormen (like myself). If you can't make wisecracks about yourself, you're just too serious.

    Last time the doormen went on strike, the jokes revolved around the question "How can you tell whether a doorman is on strike or not? What's the difference?"

  9. And to protect these new robotic servants, we shall henceforth call them Doorcreatures. (Since Porter is racist, and Doorman is sexist, and we would not want to be specist)

  10. Bill

    Seems like most of the value you assign to the doorman is a product of the NYC crime rate.

  11. The strike was supposed to start today, aaaannndd...got the flyer under my door this morning: it was settled. Given the union is SEIU, I wonder whose kneecaps got broken.

  12. @aw It's not really about crime, more about convenience, crowds and congestion. I could imagine a concierge service in suburban communities that would do what a doorman does in the city. For busy people, it would be valuable, like a shared office receptionist.

  13. I always KNEW the old sitcom Rhoda was sexist, with the "Carlton the Doorman" character... and don't even get me started on "Ralph" from The Jeffersons.

  14. As a former Californian and current Arizonan, I've never lived anywhere requiring a doorman/doorperson, so this post and the resulting comments are fascinating. Makes me feel like a real hick, which is oddly comforting.

    Also, William, thank you for your kind "Blog of the Day" mention for Frugal Cafe in today's left sidebar... it will be gone tomorrow, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it today.

    Hugs and chocolates to you, dear sir. Keep fighting the good fight...