Worksite Unity Ignites Reclassification Win

For almost two decades, Moby White has served his community as one of four crane operators with Miami-Dade County’s Public Works Department. From safely placing heavy equipment onto the tops of buildings to assisting fire and police personal as a first responder after a hurricane anywhere in the state, White never quits no matter where his job takes him.

“We are never fixed into one situation or worksite,” said White. “Every job is different and you have to make constant and instantaneous adjustments to the crane’s boom and cable geometry to make sure everyone around stays safe.”

As an elected trustee of AFSCME Local 199, White is committed to reaching out to his co-workers and becoming an expert on his contract. That is how he learned that county crane operators earned less than those doing the same work for the county’s solid waste department. White spearheaded a meeting of his co-workers and his local to develop a plan to end the wage discrepancy and gain the compensation they deserved. 

“I’ve always believed that AFSCME is a family and so we brought our family together to get united on our rights and how to stand up for careers,” he said.

In a letter to Human Resources, White outlined how their duties, training and experience exceeded the existing job classification description.

Part of the classification review includes observing members on the job. As luck would have it, the first scheduled review came on a day the operators had to remove a large tree that had fallen into a canal and created a flood risk. Removing it safely required long hours working with barges, coordinating with other departments and lots of heavy equipment. 

No additional observation days were needed after that one!

White and his co-workers recently learned that, retroactive to January 1, they were reclassified from “crane operator 2” to “heavy crane operator,” resulting in a 5 percent pay increase and a commitment to further review the position’s overall compensation.

At a recent membership meeting White announced that – thanks to solidarity across the department – all Public Works classifications are being reviewed.

Their “never quit” attitude ignited real change. 

“A union is the guard dog of your rights and your job, so we have no fear in upholding every letter of our contract because we know we are in this together,” White said.