Big Win: More Time with Family

Just a few minutes’ drive from the banks of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee, Indiantown was founded as a trading post by members of the Seminole tribe living in the surrounding Everglades following the Third Seminole War.

While the railroad and horse racing changed the community when it was incorporated into the new Martin County in the 1920s, Indiantown remains a small town. But it is a small town with a big AFSCME voice.

That strong voice at work was helpful to Lynn Eastwood, a paraprofessional child care attendant at an adult learning center.

“I get to help parents support their families and further themselves by providing care for their children while they are completing courses for their GED or learning English,” said Eastwood. “Our community values family, it values the power of education and I love children. So it is the perfect spot for me.”

Recently Eastwood, an AFSCME Local 597 member for almost her entire 25-year career, got a new manager and a new work schedule that had her working seven and a half hours.

“My previous boss said that because of breaks I had to work eight hours if I wanted to be paid for a full day, seven and a half hours,” said Eastwood. “I love my job, I love what I do, but it seemed that something was wrong at some point so I quickly got my union involved.”

Although the staff is small, every eligible employee is an AFSCME member. So once the local’s president make enquiries with the Martin County School District, the response was quick – seven and a half means seven and a half, and they are going to pay her for the extra time she had worked before.

While the money will certainly be helpful to Eastwood, whose husband only recently was able to return to work, the most important aspect is the extra time she will get to share with her granddaughter, eight-year-old Isabella.

“Now I can pick her up a half hour earlier and being able to have more time with her and for my family is the biggest win of all,” said Eastwood. “So you can be sure that I’ve been telling everyone that my voice at work was heard loud and clear thanks to AFSCME.”