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http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article87234657.html

I was paying close attention to the Zika bill that failed to get the necessary votes in the Senate last week.

Some fine print stood out because it really tells you what’s wrong with today’s politicians.

Hidden in the bill was a clause that would withhold money to Planned Parenthood that would be used for contraception to fight the Zika virus.

It has taken us years to restore what we lost during the economic downturn and to then build on top of that for a stronger future.

One of the key pieces came in December when we turned out and ratified a tentative agreement with Miami-Dade County that guaranteed a 1% cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) in October of this year. If tax revenue estimates came in high enough that COLA increase stood to go up to 4%.

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.

Across the country, the protections that new hires can access from their union during their probationary period can be confusing. This too often allows anti-labor managers to tell new employees they shouldn’t, or even can’t, join the union or turn to them if something comes up.

But in Miami-Dade County, AFSCME Local 199 is fighting back.

“Miami overrun with kittens, cuddlers wanted,” “Dream Come True: Miami in Need of Kitten Cuddlers” screamed the headlines. Facebook, Twitter and other social media recently lit up after the Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department announced that it is looking for help to care for very young orphaned kittens.

Studies have shown that the limited availability of paid parental leave in the United States is a great injustice to millions of working women and men, a significant contributor to wage inequality and a detriment to the economic health of our country.

One had only been an AFSCME member for a month, another for about a year. A third had a year-and-a-half of public service under his belt. But all three members had one thing in common: a determination to join together to have the strongest possible voice for themselves and their co-workers in the workplace.

When you are a new parent, having time to bond with your child and focus on being the best parent possible without worrying about your job is critical. That is why AFSCME has advocated for Paid Parental Leave provisions across the country for years.