Building Service Workers Award Honoree Hector Alvarez: 'I'm a Workaholic'

Hector Alvarez's health declined when he retired - so he went back to a job in security

| 27 Oct 2019 | 02:18

As an x-ray officer at 275 Greenwich Street, Hector Alvarez greets visitors, screens their bags, checks the computers and completes paperwork. It may not sound action-packed, but Alvarez, 71, strongly prefers it to retirement. Alvarez retired in 2001 but came out of retirement in 2002. “I’m a workaholic,” he says. He has been at 275 Greenwich since it opened four years ago.

Before he started working security, Alvarez had a completely different career arc. He worked for the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information at the New York Police Department, was a manager at Abbott Nutrition and served as president of a Texas petroleum corporation. He also lists building management on his resume, which is how he became a three-decade member of 32BJ. He was glad to come back to the union when he left retirement behind.

Alvarez moved to Florida upon retiring but found that his health declined, and his doctor suggested going back to work. A friend’s son offered him a job in security in Miami, and eventually Alvarez transferred back to New York. So far, Alvarez says that has cured him. “I’m very friendly; I’m an extrovert,” he says. “I’ve made friends here.”

Alvarez was born in the Dominican Republic and came to New York at the age of 19. He came from a family of politicians with dangerous enemies, so his father sent him to the U.S. He enjoys spending time outside of work with his wife, and their four children and six grandchildren.

“I’m very friendly; I’m an extrovert. I’ve made friends here.” Hector Alvarez