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The ringing in of a new year brings with it the start of a critical campaign cycle. While the candidates and pundits have been hard at work for months, most Floridians are just now tuning in.

AFSCME Florida Council 79 members held a two-day virtual convention December 10 to 11.

AFSCME, the labor union representing state workers, said it "appreciates" DeSantis recognizing there's been "years of undervaluing" state workers.

But “it is outrageous that some full-time state workers currently qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (or food stamps) even while they administer the program,” according to Vickie Hall, the union president.

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Vicki Hall, president of AFSCME Florida, a labor group, told the Phoenix in an email that the state should also focus on raising pay for other workers in the prison system. Overall, the union is advocating for all “state workers who are currently facing continually rising expenses for food, housing and gas,” Hall said.

Striketober and Strikesgiving are over, but worker strikes are still going strong. As I write this, Kellogg’s workers are holding the line in Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Memphis. Alabama miners are heading into their ninth month of standing up to Warrior Met Coal. And the wave of worker actions demonstrating power and the fight for fairness continues to rise.

AFSCME President Lee Saunders on Monday joined President Joe Biden and members of his administration, as well as a bipartisan group of lawmakers, for the signing ceremony of the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

A virtual convention for AFSCME Florida - Council 79 has been scheduled for December 10-11, 2021. The convention will be held virtually and will convene at 1:00 P.M. EST on Friday, December 10, 2021. The virtual convention will continue Saturday, December 11, 2021, beginning at 9:30 A.M. EST, and conclude when the business of the convention is completed.

The House of Representatives has passed President Joe Biden’s transformational bipartisan infrastructure plan, which Biden will soon sign into law. The passage earned praise from AFSCME President Lee Saunders, who, in a statement, said, “We are turning a corner.”

School foodservice is among the many responsibilities of the Department of Agriculture and Commissioner Nikki Fried. AFSCME Florida President Vicki Hall, AFSCME Local 2941 President Elton Brown and Vice President Annette Taylor joined Commissioner Fried as she visited Englewood High School in Jacksonville on Wednesday, November 10, to thank foodservice workers for their efforts and hear their concerns. 

As solidarity actions and strikes sweep the nation, workers are making history by organizing their workplaces for the first time.

When workers belong to a union, they have a unified voice to create safer, stronger and healthier workplaces. Organizing is our most effective tool to determine workplace dignity, hours, working conditions and quality of life. Workers aren’t stuck with dangerous workplace conditions with poor wages and benefits. They can improve them, together.