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Never Quitting Wins Member Major Settlement

Mark McCullough
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After almost three years of pushing to enforce her contract and get a paycheck that reflects the work she does, Joyce Harris is $8,805 closer to victory.

Harris loves working for Florida A&M University because she believes in the historically black university’s mission of providing access to a high-quality, affordable education to students who otherwise may never have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of getting a college degree.

“I am surrounded by coworkers and students who are constantly striving to improve not just themselves but their community as well and that fits in perfectly with the mission of AFSCME,” said Harris.

Harris, who serves as a steward for AFSCME Local 3343 and on the regional PEOPLE Committee leadership team, always looks for ways to help her coworkers grow and to continue advancing her own career.

That is why when an opportunity presented itself to take on new tasks, and a new job classification as an office manager, she jumped at the opportunity. But, unfortunately, her paycheck did not change.

“I know my contract and I took steps to make sure it was enforced,” said Harris. “And thanks to the support of my union I was able to keep up the effort as time went on and there kept being new reasons for delay.”

The university and Harris recently reached an agreement that provides compensation for about half the time she has worked out of class, lays out a process to ensure the reclassification will take effect and that she is made whole for the rest of the time in question.

“The more I’ve worked with the council staff the more I get excited for the potential that we have here with AFSCME,” said Harris. “This settlement couldn’t have come at a better time because I can go out and talk to my coworkers about why I’m so thankful to have a union and how it is key to ensuring they too can be supported throughout their career no matter what it is they want to do.”