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Dania Beach Members Hold Management Accountable for Promised Raise

Without a union, you are fighting on your own against the very people who can make or break your job.
Photo Credit: Getty / Jorge Gallardo / EyeEm
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By Mark McCullough ·

MIAMI – Members of AFSCME Local 3535 (AFSCME Florida) were promised 10 percent raises when the City of Dania Beach, Florida, decided to redevelop a sprawling commercial complex along a busy stretch of Interstate 95.

But the city only handed out 4 percent raises.

The local fought for the three members due raises and held the city accountable – and those efforts ensured that the city paid out what it owed. This is just another benefit of belonging to a union.

Dania Pointe, a 102-acre development with almost 1 million square feet of retail, restaurants, office space, hotels, apartments and public event space will have a major impact on the city and will take years to build.  

For Tammie James, a permit coordinator for the city and proud member of Local 3535, Dania Pointe became a major part of her job. Last October, she and two other employees, also AFSCME members, were assigned to the Special Permit Office to handle the intense volume of work the development would generate

“We were told that the project could take as long as five or even eight years in terms of permit needs and that the work would be pretty intense and very demanding,” said James. “But in exchange we would be getting a 10 percent raise while we were working on it.”

But that quickly turned into a false promise when city officials decided they would instead offer permanent title changes but raises of just 4 percent. James and her co-workers reached out her union for help. 

Her union was “there throughout the whole process, at times being the calming influence we needed, and at other times being the fire to keep us fighting for what we deserved,” said James.

In June, the union spoke up during a city commission meeting. Upon learning all the facts, the commission – which includes a former union member – voted unanimously for the three staffers to get the 10 percent raise as promised and to make the raises retroactive to October 2017. 

“This should be a lesson to anyone who is wondering why they need to sign their union card,” said James. “Management can make any promise they want, and then break it, unless you have someone to stand up and fight for you. Without a union, you are fighting on your own against the very people who can make or break your job. But I’m a union member which means I had AFSCME there to fight alongside me.”

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