Office cleaner Alberto Moore, 50, left the New York University campus at 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 13, but his day wasn’t done. Three hours later, he stood on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 91st Street, handing out flyers for New York State Assembly candidate Dan Quart.
Quart, a Democrat, won the special election for the Upper East Side assembly seat that night. Moore worked for Quart on behalf of SEIU 32BJ, a union that represents service employees such as porters, doormen, security guards and maintenance workers.
Moore downplays his work for the union’s causes. He said he is just a regular guy, no more deserving of special recognition than anyone else.
“To me, it’s not a big deal,” he said. “It’s not a sacrifice as they make it seem. It’s what we’re supposed to do.”
Moore said he joined the union more than 21 years ago at his then-girlfriend Brenda’s suggestion. He later married Brenda, who is now an administrator for Century 21 real estate. The couple raised two children, Crystal and Alberto Jr.
Moore worked the overnight shift while his wife worked during the day. That way, one parent could always be at home with the kids.
“It put a little stress on us in our personal life, but we knew we were doing this for the bigger picture,” Moore said. “And we had weekends.”
Crystal is now 24 years old. She works as a security guard and attends classes at Monroe Community College in The Bronx.
Alberto Jr. is 19. He attends Westchester Community College and hopes to become a police officer, Moore said.
Moore said he has encouraged his son to become a cop. Moore said his dream job was to be a firefighter—not that he doesn’t like his job now.
Moore’s worksite for the past two years has been the Stern School of Business at NYU. He said he prefers the night shift, so he starts work every weeknight at 11 p.m. He takes out the recycling, waxes floors, cleans bathrooms, moves furniture and does whatever else is required of him.
Moore’s company, Collins Building Services, is the fourth building services firm he has worked for. Because he has a union job, he said, a new company owner only means a new shirt.
That’s why Moore said he does the extra work for the union a few times per week, even though he works the night shift. He said the work commonly involves phone banking or assisting with rallies. Sometimes it means traveling to other states, which he has more time to do now that his kids are grown.
When he isn’t at his worksite or working for the union, Moore said he likes to stay at home, or go shopping with his wife or watch Yankees games.
But when it comes time to go to work on or off the clock, Moore said he is grateful to be a union man.
“The job, yes, it helps me pay my living wages and stuff, and it helps me with the expenses,” he said. “But the union is what makes the job rewarding.”
Alberto Moore was named Lower Manhattan Office Cleaner of the Year. Photo by Andrew Schwartz
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