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Fired Workers on the Job When Asian Woman was Attacked Challenge Their Termination

NEW YORK, N.Y.—The Manhattan doorman and concierge fired Apr. 6, after an Asian-American woman was brutally attacked on the sidewalk outside their building have filed grievances contesting their termination, the union representing them said.

The victim, 65-year-old Filipina immigrant Vilma Kari, 65, was walking in front of a luxury building at 360 West 43rd St. shortly before Noon on Mar. 29, when she was attacked by a man in a blue denim jacket who knocked her down and kicked her in the head. He allegedly told her, “Fuck you, you don’t belong here.”

Video from a building security camera initially released by police ended after one of the two workers closed the door while the woman was still lying on the ground, setting off an outcry that they had done nothing to help her. But a longer version released Mar. 31, by the building’s owner, the Brodsky Organization, showed that the two workers had come out of the building within two minutes to help the woman and flag down a passing police car. The workers and a bystander seen on the sidewalk in the longer video said that the attacker had a knife, according to 32BJ.

Still, on Apr. 6, the company fired the two, a doorman and a concierge. In an email to residents obtained by the New York Times, Brodsky director of management Rick Mason said the two had failed to follow unspecified “required emergency and safety protocols.”

“The workers did assist the victim and flagged down the police,” 32BJ President Kyle Bragg responded in a statement. “Under their collective bargaining agreement, both employees have the right to file grievances. There is a contractual process to challenge terminations. The employees have initiated that process, but the process is just beginning and can take weeks or months.”

The longer version of the video shows the assailant kicking the woman in the chest and knocking her down, then kicking or stomping her head three more times in about 10 seconds. 

Inside the building, it shows a delivery worker with a cart full of packages apparently telling the doorman and concierge about the attack. One had been down a hallway off to the side, the other enclosed in a booth in the front hall. About 10 seconds after the attack ends, the worker from the hall closed the building’s front door. The assailant was still on the sidewalk out front; at one point, he stalked toward the woman, but didn’t attack her again, as the three men watched through the glass door. 

They emerged onto the sidewalk about 70 seconds after the attack ended, after the assailant left. About 1½ minutes after that, they flagged down a police car. 

Kari suffered a broken pelvis in the assault, a prosecutor told the Daily News Mar. 31.

A suspect, Brandon Elliot, was arrested March 31, at a Sheraton Four Points hotel a few blocks south being used as a homeless shelter. He was charged with assault as a hate crime.

Elliot, 38, had spent more than 15 years in prison after being convicted of murder for stabbing his mother to death with a kitchen knife in 2002. He was released on parole in November 2019.

Earlier accounts of the attack “incorrectly described” the doorman and concierge as security officers, Bragg said. They did not have security training, a 32BJ spokesperson told LaborPress. 

The union’s members have reported more violent incidents on the job recently, she added, such as people getting belligerent when they’re told they can’t come into a building without wearing a mask.

“We take anti-Asian hatred, and all forms of discrimination, seriously. 32BJ members are immigrants and people of color themselves, subject to much of the same racism and violence,” Bragg said. “We believe that all union workers, especially workers of color who are often the subject of unfair treatment on the job, have a right to a fair process as outlined in their contract.”

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