FAMU Workers Win At Bargaining Table, Continue To Build Power

Tallahassee—Workers lined up at the ballot box over their lunch breaks at Florida A & M University on Tuesday to cast their vote in a historic election: the ratification of a contract that was the result of seven long months of impasse with the administration. The hard fought negotiations for a living wage dragged on over the summer amidst a major budget scandal involving the misuse of millions of dollars at the school that led to the resignation of the Chief Financial Officer.

But Tuesday afternoon after the votes were tallied, it became clear the fight was worth it: workers with AFSCME Local 3343 voted unanimously to approve the new contract delivering a one time $2,431.00 bonus to each worker as well as an extra paid day off per year. 

"This goes to show, when you organize with your co-workers and fight back, you win." said Andre Crumity, President of Local 3343.

The ratified contract covers nearly 500 FAMU support staff for the preceding 2018-2019 school year. "This is a huge first step for the struggling families that give so much to make this school function." said Local 3343 Vice-President Jason Finley. "Our goal is too keep up the momentum and move toward a substantial base salary increase in line with a living wage when negotiations resume this fall."

The victory was a culmination of months of back and forth with the administration after they initially rejected the union's proposal of a $2,500 base salary increase for support staff. "We decided to take the issue directly to the Board of Directors," said President Crumity, "so that they could look in our eyes and understand that we work hard and deserve fair treatment and respect."

FAMU President Larry Robinson will be presenting the contract to the school's Board of Trustees on September 19 for approval. Bargaining for the current 2019-2020 school year contract will begin shortly after the Board of Trustees approves the newly ratified contract. Meanwhile, workers are continuing to build power on campus. At Tuesday's vote, over 15 new FAMU support staff personnel joined AFSCME. 

"This agreement means a lot for working families here in Tallahassee," said FInley, "but we still have a lot of work to do and we look forward to working with the administration to strengthen this institution for workers and students alike." 

For more on the fight for fair wages at FAMU check out recent coverage:



Tallahassee Democrat