Dania Beach Members Hold Management Accountable for Promised Raise

When the City of Dania Beach approved the redevelopment of prime real estate along I-95 and within a stone’s throw of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades Cruise Port, it was clear this would be a multi-year project.

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, especially since the build-out process will go on for years.

For Tammie James, a permit coordinator for the city and proud member of AFSCME Local 3535, Dania Pointe became a major part of her job. In October of last year, 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% raise while we were working on it.”

But that quickly turned into a false promise when the city decided they would instead make it them permanent title changes, but with only a 4% raise. James and her coworkers reached out to her staff representative on the council for help.

“AFSCME Florida and Gary Glaze were 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.

Last week, at a city commission meeting, when the issue was discussed as part of the mid-year budget review, Glaze objected to the 4% raise, pointing out how it was a broken promise to dedicated city staff. The commission, which includes a former union member, asked for more details and, upon getting the full facts of the story, voted unanimously for the three staffers to get the full 10% raise and to make it retroactive to October of 2017 when the assignment started.

“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.”