Florida AFL-CIO Members Want To Be Heard

This week, over hundreds of American Federation of Labor and Congress Industrial Organization members in Florida gathered to bring the legislature their concerns about their working area and expectations.

AFL-CIO workers have fought hard against bills being passed that surfaced, once again, as Florida’s Legislature is emboldened by the mid-term election.  

Each morning, Tuesday through Friday, members of Working Families Lobby Corps meet at 7 a.m. for breakfast and coffee before their long meetings.

The overall goal for the workers were to make appointments with senator and representatives of their district. The workers must recognize their issues and bring them forth to the committee meetings. It is also vital that they meet with their county delegation in order to bring forth local issues that they may have.

The meetings and concerns supports each individual in the Lobby Corps, across the state of Florida.

Although the event held many concerns individuals, such as Kevin Bryne, traveled from Port St. Lucie, Fla. and met with four other individuals apart of the Union from different parts of the state to address the same matter. Kevin Byrne, of the U.S. Postal Service, said their objective is to change the name “absentee ballot“ to “vote by mail.”

The term “absentee ballot” is confusing to a lot of people, many people think of absentee ballot as not there. We are not trying to change the way people vote, but simply change the name for three reasons: People will be more informed by simply saying “vote by mail,” it is cheaper to do rather than training and hiring people to run election polls and it will increase business for the postal service,” said Byrne.

Lobbyist from Florida Education Association, Fraternal Order of Police, Building Trades and other affiliates joined the meeting to provide details on matters that affect some of the workers in the union.

At this time many legislatures are continuing to seek ways to stifle the voices of their constituents. Bills are being filed almost every day that affect people around us. Many people need to be aware of the upcoming bills that are to be passed in the committee meetings.

Banning of fracking in Florida was another concern for 31-year-old  Florida enviornmental veteran, Amy Datz.

Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside.  

Senate bill 166 and house bill 169 will ban fracking in Florida, according to Datz.

Fracking is extremely dangerous but it is also an environmental justice issue.

Datz said, “Black people are the most un-aware. Most of the black people I talk to are not aware of fracking.”

Datz says fracking will cause residents to buy water as opposed to drinking from their homes. She believes this will become an economical issue.

“You will have to buy water to drink, to flush or to wash your clothes. You’re going to spend a lot of money on water and you won’t be able to spend money on anything else,” Datz said.

A majority of the AFL-CIO members will be returning home to their families Friday.