Sodexo Workers Catch Up with AFSCME Strong

For AFSCME Local 1328 members, AFSCME Strong training was put to the test recently when it came to helping a private-sector subset of their coworkers to a contract win.

AFSCME Florida Executive Director Andy Madtes (center) joined AFSCME Local 1328 Bargaining Committee members (left to right) Genevier Moffett, Sharon Foreman, Iris Smith, Krystal Budars and Aron Olds Jr. to close out a strong negotiating session.

The AFSCME members at UF Health Jacksonville six months ago overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract that kept up benefits while making progress on pay and retirement. Left out of that progress, however, were the 130 environmental services employees of Sodexo, also members of the AFSCME Local 1328 bargaining unit at the facility.

“When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter what local you are in or what bargaining unit, here at UF Health Jacksonville we are one big AFSCME family,” said AFSCME Local 1328 President Lorenzo Sheppard. “But the reality is we had to be back at the bargaining table to ensure that we are all moving forward, even if some of us technically have a different employer.”

In the months that followed the initial agreement, area AFSCME Strong trainings focused members on engaging coworkers. This month, Local 1328 activists worked together to sign up 12 new members in the first real membership drive specifically targeted for those workers.

In the process, Local 1328 was able to negotiate the three-year contract for the Sodexo unit, which translated into progress for careers and families. Employees are now able to have their AFSCME representation at any meeting where discipline is discussed. The grievance process was shortened from four steps to three steps and, to help educate new employees about their rights, AFSMCE Local 1328 will now be allowed to participate in employee orientations.

Members will also see progress in their paycheck as all non-probationary employees are receiving a 2 percent pay increase while perfect attendance will earn workers a $50 bonus every six months.

“This contract will protect jobs, help us grow our union strength and reward our members for the hard work they do day in and day out but is too often overlooked in the importance it plays to our success,” said Sheppard.

The victory is just the latest in the growth of AFSCME in North Florida as members turn their AFSCME Strong training into action.