Ketha D. Otis has joined AFSCME Florida staff as Chief of Staff, working with President Vicki Hall and elected leadership to build power for working families in the Florida. 

The COVID-19 pandemic arrived at a time when our nation’s health care workers were already experiencing burnout.

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.

Much-needed paid family leave provisions are being introduced in South Florida, granting new parents time to bond with their growing families. According to the Sun-Sentinel on Nov. 1, "The latest employer to join the ranks is Hallandale Beach, which recently became Broward County’s first city to approve paid parental leave for its workforce. And Fort Lauderdale may be among the next to join."

Among the few other cities or counties in Florida to offer paid parental leave: Broward County, Wellington, Coral Gables and Miami Beach, according to the article.

When the City Council rejects a Tentative Agreement negotiated in good faith, what do you do? While a host of administrative and legal remedies could be considered, around 40 bargaining unit members of Local 2017, representing municipal workers from a variety of positions in Naples, decided to march into negotiations Wednesday, October 27, to show unity and resolve. 

The Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act was introduced today in the House of Representatives by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.). The bill, which currently has 144 cosponsors, would set a minimum nationwide standard of collective bargaining rights that states must provide. It would empower workers to join together for a voice on the job not only to improve working conditions but to improve the communities in which they work.

State management has been showing precious little compassion and care by disregarding public health measures which would safeguard the general public and workers, AFSCME Florida President Vicki Hall and members detailed for U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-13) on September 28. 

“It is a slap in the face to all state, county and municipal workers who are putting their lives on the line every day,” said President Hall during a statewide Zoom meeting with  the former governor.

We’ve said it before: Life is better in a union

Workers who belong to unions make more money than their nonunion counterparts. They have better health care insurance and retirement plans, more job security and safer working conditions. They’re happier.

With several hundred new custodians to Miami-Dade County Public Schools participating in training on everything from safety to how to manage their benefits, AFSCME Local 1184 members, along with AFSCME Florida staff, made sure the workers were welcomed and urged to join their union on Friday, October 15. Local 1184 President Phyllis LeFlore told the new employees that the first thing she did 36 years ago when starting to work for the district was to become an active member. At least 16 followed LeFlore’s lead that day and joined the union.