I've been keeping a close watch on the labor situation here in NYC between the building workers union (SEIU BJ 32) and the Realty Advisory Board for the past couple of months. I have been reluctant to report on it because a strike was theoretical. That began to change a few weeks ago when the union authorized a strike. At that point, I would have given a strike a 20% chance. Then, there was the big demonstration on Park Avenue which was attended by an increasingly cantankerous bunch of union members. Pop the odds up to 40%. Given the way these negotiations usually work, it usually goes down to the wire. More times than not, the last minute bargaining usually leads to a deal. However, according to many doormen that I have spoken to over the past several weeks, the mood has darkened. Guys who two weeks ago were telling me "we'll have to see" are now telling me that "it's on". Although there have been mixed reports from the Realty Advisory Board today which reported both "significant progress on some (non-wage) issues" and yet a large divide on other issues, there have been no leaks on the labor side of these negotiations. This is an ominous sign according to building workers that were on the job during the last strike 2 decades ago. To them, it seems like deja vu all over again and fits the pattern of the last strike. So where do we stand? With less than 90 minutes to deadline, I would say that the chances of a strike are 50%++ (okay, make it 60/40).
The tenant ID cards have been handed out, the garbage chutes have been locked, and it is now wait and see. Nobody wants to see a strike- the tenants, the building workers, and presumably The Realty Advisory board. But, tick, tick, at a minimum, this is a close one.