Homeowners must take out own trash amid building staff strike

Residents of this opulent Manhattan tower have suddenly found themselves on the hook for their own garbage. 

Apartments at Tribeca’s cushy Clock Tower can go for tens of millions of dollars, but staff have gone on strike over not making a livable wage maintaining the property. The situation has left wealthy unit owners newly responsible for taking care of 108 Leonard St. in their wake.

“The building is not gonna run itself without us,” Baris Guler, 31, told Gothamist from the picket line Tuesday. Guler and 14 other workers employed as porters, concierges and maintenance workers at the building went on strike this week in the name of higher wages and being recognized as members of NYC’s residence workers’ union 32BJ SEIU, which has a minimum salary of $28 an hour. Currently, the workers report they make $21.50 an hour.

“It’s not like we’re asking for the world,” Guler said of their demands, which include better benefits, especially in regards to health care.

“It just doesn’t make sense to me that they can’t provide a raise and basic living standards,” Guler added in a statement reported by Bloomberg

Building staff aims to become members of the 32BJ SEIU union.
Building staff aims to become members of the 32BJ SEIU union.
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The building boasts an indoor pool, a wine cellar, a fitness center and a private dining room, among other amenities. Units are currently available between $3.57 million and $24.45 million. 

Clock Tower staff have been trying to unionize with 32BJ SEIU since June 2021. The landmarked building’s management company, El Ad US Holding, Inc., initially cooperated with the efforts — voluntarily recognizing the workers’ union at the time, but have since failed to work with them on a contract, according to a spokesperson for the National Labor Relations Board. 

“After voting for a union over a year ago and sitting down to negotiation earlier this year to negotiate a first contract, the condominium has yet to offer any proposals,” the workers wrote in their statement.

Many building residents are sympathetic to the workers’ fight and have varyingly reached out to management, signed their names and helped organize in support. El Ad is not only now facing unfair labor charges from 32BJ’s attorneys, but also accusations that they aren’t addressing urgent maintenance matters. 

“I have water falling out of the ceiling. I didn’t have power for a while. There were a bunch of issues,” digital health startup founder Ryan Howard told Gothamist. “They don’t care.”

When reached for comment, an El Ad representative told The Post “there’s nobody here to make any comment.”

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