Building Trades, Features, Health and Safety, New York, topslot

Grateful West End Ave. Residents Help Power Building Service Workers Through the Pandemic

May 13, 2020

By Marc Bussanich

New York, NY – Resident manager Brian Reilly appreciated the show of support residents at 185 West End Avenue showed when they recently hung signs in their windows to thank him and his 32BJ SEIU co-workers for their dedication during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Resident Manager Brian Reilly with some of his 32BJ co-workers at 185 West End Avenue.

The ongoing health crisis has made the job a lot more stressful for Reilly and the 13 porters, handymen and doormen at the 430-apartment complex on West 68th Street.

“It’s something new. Obviously, no one has ever experienced this before, so that’s been an adjustment,” Reilly says.

But, unlike a lot of bosses who are failing to provide workers with adequate Personal Protection Equipment [PPE] during the pandemic, Kelly thanks the building co-op’s board and property manager for sparing no resource to acquire PPE for his crew.

“The board is absolutely fantastic and the management company, they’ve been great,” Reilly says. “They didn’t care what they had to spend to make sure that the guys had the proper masks and gloves to keep them safe.”

And Reilly and the rest of his team are going the extra mile to make sure that the residents of 185 West End Avenue remain safe, too. 

“We’ve placed hand sanitizer stations throughout the complex,” says Reilly. “They’re located at the entrance of the building, next to the elevator, as well in the basement lobby, the laundry and mail rooms.”

According to Reilly, that simple action, along with steadfast maintenance, has made all the difference.

“It seems like it’s working because very few people in the building have gotten sick,” he says. “To my knowledge, nobody has been actually confirmed with the virus.” 

The building’s workers are also sanitizing building surfaces — the elevators, door knobs and hand rails — on every floor on the hour, every hour. 

Strict stay-at-home orders have increased the workloads in other ways, too.
Because people are staying home more often, they’re buying more of their goods online, which is increasing garbage and recycling loads. 

“These procedures have increased the workload, but we’re managing and we’re doing good,” exclaims Reilly. 

The resident manager has nothing but admiration for his staff. 

“The guys are good, they come to work every day,” he says. “It’s a scary time for them because they have to travel via public transportation and they worry about bringing it back home to their families. That’s the real concern that the guys have, but they love their job, they love the residents. They come to work, they do what’s asked of them, they don’t complain. It’s admirable.” 

And the residents continue to be admirable, too. 

Reilly said that a lot of the windows in the 430-building complex recently displayed signs made by residents to show gratitude and appreciation for Reilly and his co-workers.


“One resident made a big, multi-colored card that she posted in the lobby next to the elevator, residents then signed it with thank you’s and well wishes,” he says.

Reilly also notes that the expressions of goodwill have eased the level of stress building service workers are experiencing during the pandemic. He says that they all feel like they are appreciated when residents buy them coffee and doughnuts, and, sometimes, even lunch. 

“Just that one little gesture means a lot,” he says. 

For Reilly, the biggest challenge during the pandemic has been being proactive, which includes researching the most effective cleaning agents and deploying his men strategically so that it doesn’t lead to layoffs.

Parts of upstate New York are starting to open up their local economies, and the statewide shutdown is expected to end Friday, May 15.  

Reilly said that he’ll rely on his best judgement and his membership with a building manager’s group to learn best practices of how to relax the current guidelines in the complex.

“Luckily, I’m the president of the Scandinavian Building Manger, and we have a large network of superintendents and resident managers that I can speak with and consult, guys who run bigger-sized buildings than here to exchange some ideas and learn the procedures they’re implementing in their buildings,” Reilly says.

May 13, 2020

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