Disgruntled non-union doormen, porters and maintenance workers took to the street in front of their DUMBO condo building to complain that they’re being cheated out of money and benefits by the company that runs the 33-story, all-luxury tower.
But the president of the management company fired back this week, saying that his workers are paid the same — if not more — than union workers.
“My employees make the same wages, or better, than union workers,” said William Clark, the president of Lisa Management, which runs the J Condo tower at 100 Jay St. in DUMBO.
“We also provide full health and dental benefits to all of our employees and their families. It’s the same health care package I have and no one who works for me has to reach in their pocket to pay the insurance premiums. We pay for the whole thing.”
To publicly disagree with Clark’s rosy assessment, J Condo workers rallied for the second time in as many weeks on Wednesday to demand a better health care plan, a pension and retirement savings program and higher wages from Lisa Management.
“No one takes this personal,” said one worker at the rally. “We know it’s just business, but we want the best for our families.”
The workers are being backed by Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, the largest building worker’s union in the country.
“Most building service workers receive standard wages of $20 hour, employer-paid health care, pension and 401(k),” said Matt Nerzig, a spokesman for Local 32BJ. “Any building service workers, particularly those in upscale DUMBO, deserve pay and benefits on par with the rest of the city.
“There is no good reason whyÂ these workers shouldÂ makeÂ as much asÂ $5 an hour less than union workersÂ doing the sameÂ job around the corner.”
One of the building’s 16 workers spoke to The Brooklyn Paper on the condition of anonymity to protect his job. The worker, who has more than 10 years experience, said his past employers in the neighborhood paid him higher wages, gave him and his family health insurance and provided a pension plan and savings program.
Workers at the J Condo have to pay part of their insurance premiums out of pocket if they sign up for the company health plan, he added.
But Clark said the involvement of the national service workers union was a red herring.
“I’m a fan of what the labor movement has done for this country, and none of my employees should fear that they’re going to lose their jobs because they want to be a part of any union,” he said. “But if 32BJ wants to come and take $60 out of the pockets of my workers every month, then they better be giving them something that I already don’t give them.”
Most of the condo workers in DUMBO are unionized, including those in buildings owned by Two Trees Management, the neighborhood’s main development company.
©2007 Community News Group
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