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Solidarity and Passion Yields Agreement on Raises for State Workers

Nat Bender
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AFSCME Florida’s state workers reached a tentative agreement with state management for a five percent across-the-board wage increase, which would be implemented July 1, 2023, with additional raises for positions considered hard to staff. “Our members came to the bargaining table to eloquently and passionately talk about the challenges of providing for their families, while being in the field delivering critical healthcare, emergency support and public safety services to the residents of our state,” said AFSCME Florida President Vicki Hall. “These are dedicated, long-term, state workers who made their voices heard and demanded fair compensation. Today’s agreement is a step in the right direction,” Hall said.  

These raises should help lower the states high turnover rate and improve vital services to residents, according to Reggie Brady, a veteran Child Protective Investigator (CPI) from Jacksonville, who led the Unions negotiations team. My co-workers and I visit homes across the state to make sure children are  safe and protected, but we are challenged to keep up with our caseloads,” he said.We are charged with protecting childrens lives, but are asked to manage 20 to 40 families—more than double the caseload recommended for keeping our families and communities safe.” 

Brady said he sees the same dynamics of understaffing, underpay and burnout playing out for talented, dedicated state workers providing vital services all across the state. “We view this agreement as a positive improvement but know that more work is ahead of us to protect the state’s growing population,” Brady said. 

Sheron Mickens, ACCESS Specialist with the Department of Children and Families in Daytona Beach, sees Florida residents in times of desperate need and helps administer programs that provide food, emergency money and medical coverage to needy residents. I love the satisfaction I feel when I am able to help someone,” said Mickens. A child is able to eat, a sick person is able to go to the doctor, a child gets into day care or someone who needs to get into a nursing home is able to do so.” 

However, Mickens sees a significant understaffing problem due largely to low pay and overwork. Then, when there is a crisis like COVID-19 or Hurricane Ian, the caseload increases dramatically and it becomes even more of an obstacle ,” she said. We get the work done because the human needs are pressing, but its a great strain on the system and we need the raises implemented to maintain proper staffing levels.”

The State Legislature will need to appropriate the necessary funds in its final budget and AFSCME Florida bargaining unit members will need to approve the deal. 

About the AFSCME Florida State Bargaining Unit

We are more than 40,000 workers in literally hundreds of job titles from 'Abuse Registry Counselor' to 'Laborer' to 'Workers Compensation Specialist.' We support the infrastructure of the state by making sure our roads and bridges are safe, waste and sewage is dispensed of properly and airports and ports keep humming along. AFSCME members make sure drinking water supplies is tested, our precious natural resources are protected and the environment is preserved. Our members provide critical healthcare service, protect our state's children from abuse and neglect and dispense necessary emergency aid when times are tough. We Make Florida Happen so residents of our state receive the best we have to offer and our communities thrive.