New York's Faux Doorman Strike Provokes Wealth-Bashing

New York City building workers demanded a raise and building owners yielded, thus drawing the curtains on the most publicized battle of last week -- and in this case the little guy got paid. But just as interesting was the bickering and name-calling between those covering the news story.

It's fun to make fun of people with money, says Gawker. No it's not, says Vanity Fair.

Some media outlets had a blast snickering at folks on the days preceding the possible building-worker strike, which would result if negotiators didn't resolve their differences by deadline. The 2006 union contract for the city's 30,000 doormen, porters, janitors and building supers expired April 20th, leaving negotiators with just a few days to agree on details like a fair pay raise over the next few years, and whether or not workers should shoulder part of the cost of their health benefits.What made the media a bit snarky wasn't, of course, the wait to see if the workers would abandon their posts for the picket line. It was the dilemma of middle- and upper-class tenants of full service buildings who would have to take out their own trash.

For those renters, The New York Times whipped up a mildly-offensive how-to for opening their building's front door. Excerpt:

"1: Approach door. 2: Grasp knob with right hand if right-handed, left hand if left-handed. 3: Turn knob until you hear a clicking sound."

In the tenants' defense, The Village Voice shot down the Times' article, called the paper names and published a few guidelines from an official manual issued by the Realty Advisory Board of Labor Relations for such occasions. Excerpt:

"Groceries and newspaper deliveries will be accepted at the front door. You will be called down to claim them."

The same played out for, which published a couple of make-you-want-to-shake-your-head quotes: one from a tenant who would be affected by the pending strike and the other from executive director of the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums.

Folks at Vanity Fair did not appreciate this, and called out New York magazine and Gawker for "creating narratives of bitter class resentment."

All of this before the pending strike went live -- which it never did.

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, the Times was back to business as usual and reported that negotiators went at it until the midnight strike deadline, agreeing to a wage increase of almost 10 percent over the next four years and zero change in the worker's current financial contribution to their health care benefits.

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