TALLAHASSEE, Florida – State workers in Florida will get their first real pay raise in 11 years thanks to AFSCME Florida’s hard work during the recently-concluded 2017 legislative session.
That was one of many noteworthy victories the union secured for the members it serves and for the people of Florida.
AFSCME Florida had to navigate many contrasts and complications during the session. There were contrasts between the priorities of the Florida House and the Senate. Contrasts between the will of the legislature and the wishes of Gov. Rick Scott. Contrasts between the legislative process as envisioned by the leadership and as it played out in reality.
AFSCME Florida knew going into this session that with an $83 billion state budget, there would be opportunities to make real progress on key issues. Aware that its members, as in years past, would be the targets of partisan legislation, the union worked closely with its allies and got its members involved in the legislative process.
Those efforts helped ensure that the legislature set aside $183 million for state-worker raises. Since this is not a one-time bonus and won’t be offset by takeaways or some other gimmick, the 3 percent-4 percent raise is a huge step forward for thousands of state workers.
Another victory was defeating House Bill 11. This was union-busting legislation in its purest form and had one goal – crushing public employee unions. Even after workers packed committee meetings to oppose the bill, House leaders continued their push to roll back workers' rights. They couldn’t explain why the measure was anything more than boilerplate anti-worker legislation cooked up by right-wing organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Other key wins include:
- Securing language granting AFSCME Florida more access to bargaining-unit employees so the union could better explain their health-coverage options. The union will also be able to show how it’s a force for good across worksites and the state.
- Stopping no fewer than seven anti-immigrant bills that were threats to the communities where AFSCME Florida members serve.
- Stopping legislation that would’ve allowed people to openly carry firearms, a huge win for workers at universities and county or municipal buildings.
Go here to learn more about AFSCME Florida and the benefits of joining the union.