A Strong Union Delivers a Strong Contract for City of Miami Solid Waste Department Employees

It would be easy to suspect that a smaller local in a right to work state would have a tough time winning a great contract. Don’t tell that to the members of AFSCME Local 871 who have 196 members out of a bargaining unit of 226.

The City of Miami recently approved a new contract that will deliver annual wage and step increases that will raise employee pay by 20% over the next three years.

“We have a good union culture here where every member feels the responsibility to pass on to new employees the importance of signing their union card as soon as they can do so,” said Joe Simmons, the local’s president and a waste equipment operator.

“Because we have such a united voice it makes getting a good contract easier because the folks on the other side of the table know they don’t have issues or proposals they can use to divide us from our priorities.”

Members won on other issues as well, including stronger disciplinary protections, additional ability to communicate with members and continued strong layoff protections.

One of the biggest priorities going into negotiations was another victory found in the new contract, the ability to contribute to PEOPLE through paycheck deduction.

“Having a voice in the future of this city is very important to our members because it will greatly impact if we can build on the victories in this contract or if we are fighting to just maintain what we have,” said Corey Taylor, a street sweeper operator and executive vice president for the local.

With a strong new contract secured, members are now taking the fact that they won increases in shift differential pay, no change in health coverage and an increase in the pension multiplier to that small percentage of coworkers who haven’t signed their membership card yet.

“We think this contract will help us get to our ultimate goal – 100% membership of post probation employees,” said Simmons. “We take it one step at a time, but right now we feel we just took a giant leap.”