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Post ATTENTION LIFEGUARDS - PART 4 June 9, 2010 BRA Meeting Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:54 pm
tony battisti

Before you start reading, you must remember that I am simply reporting to you what has been happening at the BRA meetings. I am not the one who has created the confusion I’m about to talk about – I’m just trying to tell you what’s going on.

I say this only because in Part 3, I told you how the In-House rule and Pre-Season assignments were changed and why I opposed the way that was done. Well, it now seems that NYSUT had a problem with the way that was done and the NYSUT leadership was unhappy with Meirowitz over this.

Rumor has it that Meirowitz issued some form of apology to the Executive Board at the meeting last week. I’m not on the Executive Board so I wasn’t there to hear it for myself. I’m stuck with trying to decipher third-party hearsay accounts of what was actually said. Ideally accurate minutes should be taken so that Executive Board action can be verified.

The long and short of it seems to be that NYSUT disapproved of Meirowitz’ action of going into the May BRA meeting as the President of the NYSLC and ordering the Beach Reps to adopt his “recommendation” to remove the In-House Rule. And, NYSUT was apparently disturbed by the fact that Meirowitz stated in his letter to Donovan that the NYSUT leadership told him he could do this.

I expect there will be an explanation given at the BRA meeting tomorrow night and I will report that here after the meeting.

On Saturday, June 5, 2010, Donovan sent all the Beach Reps an email containing tomorrow’s meeting’s agenda; and, on that agenda is the following:

Issues to be discussed include, Pre-Season staffing, "The Draft", BRA elections, NYSLC elections, NYSLC Constitution ratification, and a yes or no vote on the following:

"Effective immediately, the "Note" in Section XI, a, will be removed from the JBLC Seniority Rules."

Remember, last month NYSLC President, Bruce Meirowitz wrote the letter to Tom Donovan that I re-printed in Part 3. In that letter he said, in sum and substance, that he had consulted with NYSUT and was informed that the In-House Rule violated the concept of “universal union understanding of straight seniority” and it must be abolished. That letter asked Tom Donovan to have the JBLC BRA vote to adopt that recommendation, which they did. A few days later it was reported in the Bucket & Buoy that not only had the In-House Rule been removed, but that Pre-Season staffing had been changed – from officers first and then rank and file by seniority, to straight seniority.

Apparently NYSUT felt Meirowitz went too far. Again, I’m trying to remain objective. I have not heard what Meirowitz has to say about this and I want to give him the chance to explain what happened – I’ll tell you after the meeting.


According to the BRA meeting agenda, it seems that Donovan is going to try to have the Beach Reps give a “yes or no” vote on whether to remove the In-House Rule. For those of you who are just tuning in, the In-House Rule is codified in the Seniority Rules as follows: “Section XI, (a), Note”. Whenever you see that, just remember that’s the In-House Rule.

This was already tried in April when Meirowitz and Donovan tried to bring the Seniority Rules into the By-Laws. That move would have allowed the BRA to change any rule right there at the meeting. The only reason that didn’t go through was because I warned everyone that this would look like a “back room” deal. So, it was decided that the Beach Reps would go back to their crews to see if they wanted have a GENERAL MEMBERSHIP VOTE this summer over the In-House rule – that is, either keep it or get rid of it.

We were supposed to have the answer to that question in May. But when we got to the May meeting, very few, if any, Beach Reps had spoken to every member of his/her crew; AND, that’s when Meirowitz gave his letter to Donovan telling him the In-House rule had to go – which made getting an answer to that question, moot.

Now that NYSUT disapproved of what Meirowitz did with that letter in May, they are going to try to fall back on what they tried in April – have the Beach Reps vote to abolish the In-House rule.


In Part 1 of this . . . adventure . . . I told you about how it was originally decided, back in December 2009, when this first came up, that EVERYONE – Beach Reps and Executive Board – agreed it had to go to a GENERAL MEMBERSHIP VOTE. This was written about extensively on the Forum and not one person from the Executive Board or a single Beach Rep ever said otherwise. Rank and file lifeguards reading this may very well have relied, to their detriment, on the fact that nothing would be done without a General Membership Vote and could be waiting for their ballot this summer when they get back. There is no way, at this point in time, that any of the Beach Reps could have spoken to all of the regular members of their crew.

Donovan and Meirowitz are now trying to take “some kind of vote” at the next BRA meeting. The only vote that can change the Seniority Rules is a General Membership Vote.

You can’t take a vote like this before full opening. There are many people who are not yet back at their fields and who are yet to return. Furthermore, there has never been an accounting of votes taken by the Beach Reps of their crews on these issues. Each Beach Rep should be able to produce a ballot sheet as backup data for his/her crew’s vote. These do not exist.



Remember, the Executive Board already went to WSO and told them that the In-House rule was out and that Pre-Season assignments are being done in a new way. The season has started people have been assigned according the representations of the NYSLC and JBLC Executive Boards.

There are people who should have been on the clock who were not because of these “back door” attempts to change the rules. Now the Executive Board has a problem. If the Executive Board does not figure out a way to make these changes stick, that means there are lifeguards who are losing salary because they would have been working pre-season had the NYSLC and JBLC Executive Boards not played fast-and-loose with the Seniority Rules.

The haste and shortsightedness in trying to abolish the In-House Rule with that “universal union understandings” doublespeak; and, changing Pre-Season staffing – with no discussion at all! – has now cost DUES PAYING UNION MEMBERS THEIR BASE SALARY. WHO IS GOING TO MAKE IT UP TO THEM? THESE LIFEGUARDS MAY BE FORCED TO GO TO COURT OVER THIS.

The next attempt by the Executive Board to get the In-House and Pre-Season changes to remain is to keep them from being taken to task over this injustice.

My suspicion was accurate: In Part 3 I wrote, regarding the vote to approve Meirowitz letter;

There can only be one reason for this, it is: If Meirowitz’ decision is later criticized by the general membership, he can avoid accepting complete responsibility for this action by deflecting some blame onto the Beach Reps.

That’s exactly what is going to happen. Blame is going to get shifted to the BRA and I hope they can see that now – the last two times they didn’t.

Any Beach Rep who votes for this change on Wednesday without having spoken to everyone on his crew – and also in possession of a memorandum to back it up - better be think about how they will explain this if called to testify at a lawsuit by the disenfranchised lifeguards for their back pay.

We must always remember that Beach Reps are not Congressmen – authorized to exercise their discretion on behalf of their constituents. Beach Reps are merely the conduit between the rank-and-file and the Executive Board and can only act on the specific authority of their crew.

Tony Battisti - EBHO
Post Re: ATTENTION LIFEGUARDS - PART 4 June 9, 2010 BRA Meeting Posted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:15 am
James Rooney
So what happened?
Post Re: ATTENTION LIFEGUARDS - PART 4 June 9, 2010 BRA Meeting Posted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:51 am
tony battisti
Ha, that's a good one.
Post Re: ATTENTION LIFEGUARDS - PART 4 June 9, 2010 BRA Meeting Posted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:27 pm
James Rooney

I hope you'll at least report back to your fellow East Bath Lifeguard on what happened.

I spoke to another Beach rep and heard the new vote was 14-3 in favor of removing the note.

When are the lawsuits being filed...........does the line form on the right?

What did our Labor rep from NYSUT have to say?
Post Re: ATTENTION LIFEGUARDS - PART 4 June 9, 2010 BRA Meeting Posted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:58 am
Ryan Clark
Like I have been saying for weeks, and have been criticized for by the "Old Guys" who want to get rid of the so-called "Homeboy Rule", we need to do this according to the letter of the constitution of the JBLC. If anyone wants to write the petition to the Rep Assembly to change the constitution (with 5% of the membership concurring) bring the petition down to EBHO and I will personally sign it for you. If we don't do things legally we have no right to be outraged when the WSO pulls dirty tricks on us. Lets do things the right way and take the moral high ground away from the WSO.
Post Re: ATTENTION LIFEGUARDS - PART 4 June 9, 2010 BRA Meeting Posted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:35 pm
James Rooney
You should contact Bruce Meirowitz and Tom Donovan directly about the Constitution. From what I gathered from previous meetings we have a new constitution from NYSUT & UUP that is being voted on. I think what has been confusing is we've moved from Council 82 to NYSCOPBA then made the switch into NYSUT UUP.
Sort of like when Countries take over other Countries or when they are absorbed into other ones. The constitution we had is moot and we adopt a new constitution. We'll be having a new election 4th of July weekend for beach representatives for the BRA. Then they will have elections for the BRA Executive Board, then in the FALL there will be elections for the NYSLC Executive Board.
Hopefully we'll get a current B&B to bring everyone up to date.
See ya @ East Bath House on June 26th;
Post Re: ATTENTION LIFEGUARDS - PART 4 June 9, 2010 BRA Meeting Posted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:31 pm
Frank Salino
The membership voted to change post-season staffing in 2002. It used to be officers first, then others by seniority. The vote changed it to- the facilities regular compliment of officers would be filled first (1 capt., 1 lt., 3 boatswains, as example) then all the other positions available by seniority.

The next summer (2003) a proposal was given to the membership to change pre-season staffing to match the newly installed post-season rule. Apparently the membership did not read the ballot in 2002 and thought it was a rule change for both pre and post season. They wanted a new proposal drafted. It was voted on and should have been put in place for the 2004 season. It was never approved by the Water Safety Office.

By 2004 our executive board was not negotiating with the State. A number of issues came up at that time. The lifeguard Lou lawsuit, the anti-semetic lawsuit, the speed suit lawsuit, the union card signing lawsuit, and we were no longer recognized by the State as a valid negotiation unit-NYSCOPBA had us cut off and we were not able to directly negotiate with the state for a few years. Much of our normal meetings and discussions with the state were not productive for a few years. A new executive board was elected, we were able to remove ourselves from NYSCOPBA and gain entry into NYSUT/UUP. The JBLC was officially established and then the NYSLC was created.

Now-2010, we have a new, fully functional negotiations team and the 2003/4 rule was able to be enacted. Your adventure story makes it seem like Tom and Bruce just invented the rule this year and forced it upon the Corps. It was proposed by the Corps to the seniority committee, the seniority committee met and drew up a ballot, the ballot was presented to the BRA, they voted to have it presented to the executive board for a general membership vote and it was voted on by the whole Corps, the majority voted to have the pre and post seasons staffed the same way.

I hope this clears up at least one of your issues with the current board.

Frank Salino
Class of '78
Who Watches the Watchmen
Post Re: ATTENTION LIFEGUARDS - PART 4 June 9, 2010 BRA Meeting Posted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 5:30 pm
tony battisti
I have no issue with the current board. I was reporting on what was happening. My issue is with anyone who takes the right to vote, lightly - I made that clear from the begining.

As for the pre and post season issue - you're right. We went over this at the last BRA meeting and it seems that the language authorizing the pre and post season staffing was in place. It had been reported in the B&B as something new - and we clarified that last week.

But Frank, I couldn't help notice that you mentioned that the staffing changes were, correctly, put to a general membership vote - that's all I wanted us to do this time with the In-House rule.

So, in principle, I think we agree.

Tony Battisti - EBHO
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