I know I was right, AFSCME helped me prove it

For Tarcara Lamkin, being a state employee means she knows that she is serving her community every day. As a senior clerk with the Florida Department of Health at the Magnolia Women's Health Center, she knows she is an integral part to ensuring that the Jacksonville community is informed and able to take action concerning sexually transmitted diseases.

But after 10 years of solid work all that came to a halt for the AFSCME Local 3038 member in May of 2016. Following some conversations with her supervisor that came from left field, Lamkin was told she was losing her job.

“They were claiming that I was a bad employee but in 10 years nobody has questioned my work ethic,” said Lamkin. “Everybody I work with knows I am not a passive person when it comes to getting the job done so if it was a misunderstanding, a personality conflict, I’m not sure, but it was not because of the quality of work I was doing.”

None of the charges seemed to add up. On top of that, some of the absenteeism charges were actually covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Because AFSCME has been such a strong supporter of FMLA legislation, including enforcing it in contracts and highlighting its value over time, Lamkin and her AFSCME Florida staff representative used that start to explore more issues in the actions taken against her.

“From day one I know AFSCME had my back, that they knew the contract and that they would fight for me,” said Lamkin. “They were able to look into each charge and say, ok this is what they are claiming but let’s show what really happened.”

By highlighting the FMLA issue, the fact that there was no due process afforded to Lamkin, lack of progressive discipline procedures being followed and other holes in their arguments against her, the long process eventually ended in victory. After 10 months, Lamkin is back serving her community thanks to winning back her job and the back pay she deserved.

“I knew I was right, AFSCME helped me prove it,” said Lamkin. “You never know what is going to happen and when you are going to need it, and that is why I am AFSCME strong from now until I retire!”  

Lamkin’s case underscores AFSCME’s commitment to fighting for its members no matter how long it takes. With each victory, AFSCME improves the working lives of public service employees in Florida and throughout our country.