AFSCME fights for permanent wage increase for FAMU employees

The main entrance to Florida A&M University
Photo Submitted by Vanessa Lawrence

The fight continues for a base salary increase for all workers who are part of the University Support Personnel System at Florida A&M University. Representatives from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union that represents all non-teaching staff, met with FAMU last week to negotiate.

The concern was back wages for the 2018-2019 school year, and employees asking for future increases in pay, and changes to future contracts.

The university agreed to pay a bonus to all employees involved in the agreement for the previous school year. But the union is still asking for a salary increase and long-term contract.

The bargaining process has been long and difficult. “It took a long time for us to get to this point. This isn’t the end. We will continue to fight for fair treatment of the workers at FAMU,” said Kelly Benjamin, director of AFSCME Florida.

“Hopefully this will kind of mend some bridges among the university and its employees.”

Benjamin said AFSCME fights for a permanent wage increase for FAMU employees.

Andre Crumity is the AFSCME union president for Chapter 3343. Crumity shares that they will be going back to the drawing board to come up with new contracts and wages for the 2019-2020 school year,

“We are trying to work together and do what’s best not only for what’s best for employees but also what is best for FAMU,” he said.

The union is working to fight for permanent wage increases, as well as a new updated contract that would have to be renewed every three years.

Benjamin said that coming to an agreement is beneficial for the community. “FAMU is such an important institution not only for Tallahassee, but for the entire state of Florida. We are so happy that FAMU and AFSCME were able to come to this agreement about the bargaining table. We would love to see at the next round of negotiations, base salary increases.”

AFSCME is now looking forward to the future.

At last week’s meeting, FAMU offered union leaders for the AFSCME a one-time bonus for $2,431 to every member of the bargaining unit. AFSCME represents nearly 500 University Support Personnel System employees on campus.

The union is set to take a ratification vote on Tuesday. If the vote is ratified. FAMU President Larry Robinson will ask the Board of Trustees to approve the agreement at their meeting on Thursday.

“We appreciate the work of our faculty and staff at the university. We will do everything we can to ensure they are in an environment that demonstrates that,” said Robinson, who is not part of the university’s negotiating team, in a statement. “We are committed to respecting and upholding the collective bargaining process.”