2000-09-30 / Front Page

Taking It To The Streets! Workers Protest No Contract (picture caption)

Taking It To The Streets!
Workers Protest No Contract
(picture caption)

Employees of JASA rally in front of 1915 Seagirt boulevard.

By Paula Montemorano

A contract dispute between labor and management at the JASA senior complexes, on Beach 19 street off of Seagirt boulevard, has resulted in several days of picketing and protest. Having started on Tuesday, September 26, a gathering of housing supers, maintenance mechanics, painters, and porter-guards rallied outside of the six JASA buildings, which include 1915 Seagirt boulevard, 1925 Seagirt boulevard, 125 Beach 19 street, 155 Beach 19 street, 131 Beach 19 street, and 135 Beach 19 street.

The 52 staffers, who are members of the National Health and Human Service Employees Union, Local 1199, have been working without a contract and pay raise since August 1, 1998. According to union members, the employees of JASA were entitled a three-percent raise increase as of August 1998. When the raise never came to fruition, management promised the employees a lump sum payment of $1800. The JASA employees did not receive that as well.

Management has offered to settle the dispute by providing six months retroactive pay. Having worked without a pay raise for more than two years, employees believe that they are owed more back pay.

Although management would not confirm details of the dispute, in a letter to the tenants of JASA, Henry Dubro, site manager, stated, "Management and the union negotiated in good faith and reached a tentative contract agreement in May 2000. This agreement was submitted to our respective organizations for final approval. The housing company boards approved the contract in June. We were told in August that the union members had also ratified the agreement… We value the work of our union employees and look forward to a speedy resolution of this matter."

In the past, JASA officials have claimed financial difficulties in regards to operation of these complexes. Union members find this hard to believe since management recently received a five-percent pay raise.

One of the employees who led the rally said, "We’re looking for recognition of the work we do. All we are asking for is what we deserve for all the work and years that we have put into our jobs. Some of us have been working here for over 20 years, and still the union and management cannot come to agreed terms."

As of this time the employees have no plans to strike but time remains of the essence.

"Management needs to get out of their plush offices and do something to resolve this problem. What’s best for the tenants of JASA should be remembered first," said a protestor.

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