Striking Blow To DBP Employees
The striking maintenance workers of Dayton Beach Park, who have been out of work since July, were dealt a striking blow this week to their negotiations when the current board president, Jennifer Grady was re-elected during the shareholder’s annual election.
Grady led with 351 votes. Six incumbent board members were also re-elected. The Dayton Beach Park Co-op board is chosen to make decisions on behalf of the more than 1,100 residents of the complex that includes buildings 8100, 8200, 8400, 8600 and 8800 Shorefront Parkway. The news came as a disappointment to the 20 maintenance workers who are represented by Union 32 BJ SEIU. They felt ousting Grady and several of the existing board members from office was their best chance of negotiating a fair deal on a new contract.
Negotiations stalled in July when the board and union failed to reach a compromise on a new contract for the workers which expired in April 2010. Between April 2010 and July of this year, they worked without a contract in good faith that negotiations would be resolved and a strike avoided. Instead, Grady let the workers walk and hired a private sanitation and maintenance staff to clean the grounds in their absence.
Contract negotiations included a request by the board of directors for a reduction in maintenance staff through the firing of one super and two maintenance workers. That was agreed to by the Union, but then the board also requested a four-year wage freeze for all 20 of the complex’s maintenance workers in order to afford the new contract. The union refused.
“A lot of the shareholders are not satisfied with the election because they found out that one of the board members is in arrears for more than $9,000 in maintenance,” striking Shop Steward Raymond Ceballos said. “Anyone running for the board is not supposed to be behind on maintenance, but somehow she still got 331 votes.”
The results of the election ensure that the majority of the current Dayton Beach Park board still favors Grady’s position. The union and its members however, are optimistic that they will get back to the table soon.
“Right now were just holding on,” Ceballos said. “It’s not easy but they aren’t dealing in good faith. If we agree to go back to work without a new contract and negotiate as we work, it’s going to be the same result.”
The election Honest Ballot Association was hired by HPD to monitor the election after shareholders questioned the integrity of past elections. The Honest Ballot Association is an independent monitor for private elections. Some shareholders are charging however, that after the vote the representative from the Honest Ballot Association went inside the manager’s office with the ballots and counted the votes privately.
This led to more skepticism from select shareholders, most of whom voted against the current board. When asked, Ceballos was cynical as well.
“That doesn’t look good.” He said. “Of course you can’t prove anything happened, but that obviously didn’t look good to some shareholders.”
Leading up to the election, shareholders have told The Wave that they were informed by the board that any new contract signed for the relatively small group of maintenance workers would directly result in increased maintenance fees for the complex. The shareholder claims corroborate those of the workers as well.
“They were telling the shareholders this all along. But according to the shareholders, more than 200 of them say that the accountant advised them that a maintenance increase wasn’t coming for at least another three years regardless of the raise in pay.”
This Ceballos and other workers say definitely had an influence over the voting process.
“It just a flat out lie,” he said. “Propaganda that many unfortunately believed.”