Member Activism Wins In Florida Legislative Session

On Monday March 14, the Florida Legislative Session signaled "Sine Die" and drew to a close. AFSCME Florida state members had one of the best Legislative sessions thanks to member activism staving off anti-worker legislation and federal funding to help the state recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.   

AFSCME fought off one of the most aggressive anti-union measures proposed in recent history. House Bill 1197, which would require every member to join every year, eliminate payroll deduction and set artificial thresholds to bargain for increased pay and benefits, passed the Florida House of Representatives.  

Anti-union organizations ran television ads, sent letters and made a full-court press to move it in the Senate as well. AFSCME members and allies (AFL-CIO, For our Future) made patch-through calls, sent action network letters, launched a digital campaign targeting key legislators to mobilize union members across the state. As a result, HB 1197 was not heard in the Florida Senate and our collective voice will continue to be heard to demand economic justice and workplace fairness.   

In what would be the largest budget in state history, legislators released $112.1 billion for the upcoming fiscal year that, due to AFSCME's lobbying efforts, includes more than $1 billion for pay raises for state workers and contractors. All state workers will see across-the-board 5.38% pay raises. No state workers will make less than $15 per hour. And teachers, bus drivers, workers at state-contracted nursing homes, and Medicaid contractors will all see starting pay at $15 per hour. 

AFSCME Florida President and AFSCME International Vice President Vicki Hall said, "We applaud the leadership of both the House and Senate for historic increases for the state workers who provide the vital, essential services our communities need. State workers are in need of both living wages to lift families out of poverty and enhanced compensation for professionals whose pay has not kept pace with comparable private-sector counterparts. I am constantly amazed by the professionalism and dedication our members demonstrate every day. These historic increases to starting pay and significant across-the-board pay raises are well deserved and much appreciated."