By Sabina Mollot
Porters employed in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village recently learned that as of Monday, July 27, their schedules would be changed so that many of those who’d been working Monday to Friday would have to now work weekends, and on weekends, see their duties increased to cover three buildings instead of the standard two.
Brian Moriarty, speaking on behalf of CompassRock, said the redistribution of porters was to make more of them available when the demand for their services is the highest.
“To better serve the community, we are shifting some porters’ schedules to provide more janitorial coverage during the weekend when more of our residents are home,” he explained.
But one porter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said making one person responsible for three buildings on any given day was going to lead to less clean buildings.
“We can’t do the kind of work they want us to do with three buildings, clean the stairwells, the roofs, the pipes,” he said.
The worker, who’d previously worked Monday to Friday, said some days he’ll have to clean two buildings, but other days three, and it’s always going to be three on Saturdays and Sundays. “That ruins a lot of weekends,” he said. “It’s the only time you spend with your kids and family.”
He added that no additional pay will be earned for working weekends, because they’ll still have two days off, which will now be during the week.
CompassRock’s rep also denied rumors that there would be layoffs and that the porters would be assigned to different buildings each week instead of working in the same buildings all the time as they had been.
“It is not true that anyone will be laid off or that porters will be in different buildings each week. After this initial shift, the buildings will be consistent,” he said.
Chris Silvera, the secretary/treasurer of the porters’ union, Teamsters 808, agreed with the porter who said it would lead to a decline in the quality of service.
“The question is does this improve service for the tenants? The answer is no,” said Silvera. He recalled how years ago, there were extra part-time porters who came in on weekends. On the new schedule, he added, “It in no way gives anything to the tenants except the perception that there are more porters, but that is a perception.”
Susan Steinberg, the Tenants Association president, said neighbors should alert the TA if they notice any changes in building maintenance.
“While on the face of it, it is commendable that management is shifting staff to better serve the community on weekends, tenants need to be vigilant about whether building conditions are maintained, improved, or deteriorate as a result of such shuffling, and let the Tenants Association know,” she said. “Clearly, with more people home on weekends, a buildup of items in the recycling room is inevitable ― and often concerning due to the possibility of fire or bedbug hazards.”
Steinberg added that she thought other maintenance issues also needed to be addressed.
“Non-emergency plumbing that takes seven to ten days for servicing, for example, is a hot item just now,” she said. “One would hope management will consider some shifting of plumbing staff in the same way they are shifting porters.”