Aiming High and Winning at UCF

Last week, the men and women who make one of America’s largest university by total enrollment happen semester after semester, overwhelmingly approved a new contract that balances professional and benefits victories.

“It was important that we not only won when it came to pocketbook issues like wages and health care but also when it comes to protecting our jobs and our voice at work,” said AFSCME Local 3345 President Mike Smith, who is a program assistant at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and an AFSCME member for more than 20 years.

Most important for the members, the three-year agreement increases the time that members can contest a no-cause layoff from 10 to 30 days. While they were unable to completely eliminate this unfair practice it is a major step in the right direction.

“Members now have more time to fight an unjust action, especially if it is the result of a personality dispute or misunderstanding that can be resolved in a manner that doesn’t result in member losing their job and the university losing an employee that has learned what it takes to keep this campus going,” said Smith.

The agreement also provides for a 1.5% across-the-board wage increase and $275 bonus along with a half-percent merit raise. On-call pay will also be increase by a half dollar an hour. And reinforcing the importance of the upcoming state legislative session for this public university, members will not see an increase in medical premiums unless the state raises them.

The ability to engage members and grow the union was strengthened at the bargaining table as well as moving forward three members will be able to participate in negotiations without having to use any personal or sick time. Additionally, the Local will be provided the information of all new hires to bargaining unit positions as well as regular updates of all bargaining unit membership.

“This contract really puts our members in a winning position today and in a stronger position for tomorrow,” said Smith.