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On Monday June 29, AFSCME Local 199 was informed that the Clerk of Courts had a budget shortfall of more than $9 million dollars and that this shortfall would result in around 107 layoffs and furloughs for all of our 2,000 Clerk of Court employees in Miami-Dade County. On July 2nd, Local 199 held a Zoom meeting to discuss our options and put a plan of action in place to avert these changes and remind the County of the value of our dedicated employees.

President Brown laid out an emergency call to action for members to contact lawmakers both in Tallahassee and Miami-Dade County and Local 199 members came through big time. With an overwhelming number of calls and emails to County Commissioners, President Brown was able to work closely with Deputy Mayor Moon, County Clerk Harvey Ruvin, and Miami-Dade County lawmakers to make up the shortfall from other areas of the budget and avoid the lay offs and furloughs entirely.

On Saturday, June 14, Local 199 union members from across Miami-Dade met at a contract kick-off meeting to discuss strategy for the upcoming contract negotiations with the County.

At the meeting, Local 199 Administrator Andy Madtes presented an in-depth summary of the County's proposals for the upcoming contract, which includes a 10% base cut in salaries; the removal of your grievance process; a way around notifying the union about outsourcing; removing your union's ability to appeal disciplinary through arbitration; and the elimination of premium pay.

Miami-Dade AFSCME Local 199 had a great turn out for the Contract Committee meeting on May 29th. Administrator Andy Madtes gave an update on the tough fight we have over the next few months in contract negotiations, as well as an overview of where we stand politically and the direction of Local 199. Members of the committee came to the meeting impassioned, prepared with ideas and ready to work.

For over 20 years, I've stood shoulder-to-shoulder with South Florida's working families as we work to improve our future. I have a track record of helping build stronger locals with an involved membership and political clout. Now, I have the honor of serving members of AFSCME Local 199.

In January when I became Local 199's Administrator, I started the hard work of rebuilding the local gain strength. Listening to members, I've been able to identify problems and work towards solutions.

On March 27th, approximately 1,700 Miami-Dade workers voted on the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) agreement with AFSCME Local 199. According to state law, there must be a vote on the agreement in which all workers are invited to participate. Interestingly, this vote does not have an impact on the outcome

Both members and non-members voted in favor of restoring the 5% health care contribution and against concessions. The BOCC heard workers loud and clear that Miami-Dade workers are sick of concessions that affect them year-after-year.

AFSCME members from across north Florida overwhelmed the picnic area at the City of Jacksonville’s Fretwell Park on the west side of the city last weekend. Members were there to celebrate the summer, rekindle of friendships, form new connections and celebrate the momentum AFSCME is enjoying with 509 new members signed up in 2017 the Jacksonville area alone. 

For years, Sheryll Brown made sure the students and staff at the University of North Florida had an efficient postal services unit. But when the university won the effort to outsource her department she made sure her contract was enforced, which led to a multi-year effort and tens of thousands of dollars in back pay.

When AFSCME wins a good contract, the first thing members and non-members usually look for is the pay raise the union was able to negotiate. But what if pay is not something the union can bargain over? Will non-members still have a reason to fill out a membership card?

If you communicate throughout the process and put together a strong ratification campaign, like the members of AFSCME Florida’s Local 1328 and Local 1781 recently did, the answer is yes.

And yes to the tune of 33 new members in just a couple of days in North Florida.