Clerk of Courts Members Rally Community to Save Services and Jobs

One Friday, 70 Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts employees receive layoff notices before their workday is over. The very next Friday, those same employees receive notices that the layoffs have been cancelled, their jobs are saved and the services they provide are not being cut.

So what happened over that one week that resulted in $2 million in funding being found? AFSCME Local 199 happened.

“Our members and leaders sprang into action even before the layoff notices went out by reaching out to commissioners one-on-one, activating an aggressive media plan to alert the community to what was at stake and driving in calls and emails through social and digital outreach,” said Se'Adoreia “CeeCee” Brown, president of AFSCME Local 199 and an International Vice President for AFSCME.

“Everyone was of course nervous once we heard that the front counter services were going to be cut and then just waiting to see if you would get that layoff notice will cause anyone some sleepless nights,” said Jared Crawford, a courtroom clerk at the North Dade Justice Center. “But my union and my coworkers really shined in this instance because I never felt like I was alone. I knew that they were there with me every step of the way, supporting with me and fighting with me. I have never been prouder to be an AFSCME member.”

“I encourage the individuals who are not a part of Local 199 to get involved and join our wonderful family," said Crawford.

Members held a special meeting with Clerk of Court Harvey Ruvin to map out all the paths to success possible and continued meeting with county leaders even as they prepared testimony for an upcoming budget hearing. Every step of the way they were met by elected officials, staff and citizens who supported them.

“Once you educate someone to the fact that last year 600,000 residents made use of the services you provide in locations convenient to them; that you are saving thousands of trips downtown that would add to traffic, parking and other congestion issues; and without you other services would be stretched even further with additional costs it came down to making sure we applied enough pressure fast enough,” President Brown.  

The fight is not over. The funding will maintain the jobs and services for six months, allowing for Local 199, the Clerk of Courts, Mayor, County Commission and Florida Bar to lobby the state legislature for a fix to the flawed funding formula.