FAMU employees stage demonstration

Roscoe Hightower, president of UFF-FAMU chapter supporting AFSCME members earlier today. Photo by Alea Mexile

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) for Florida staged a demonstration this morning at the roundabout on FAMU Way and Railroad Avenue.

Their goal was to bring awareness to the lack of pay increases for FAMU’s employees who are members of the union.

Members of AFSCME held up signs that expressed their frustration with the university and changes they would like to see going forward. The negotiations between FAMU and its employees has been in the making for about six months.

Director of the Office of Communications at FAMU, Keith Miles, delivered a response on behalf of the university. “FAMU values all of its employees.  Negotiations are being handled through the collective bargaining process which is ongoing.”

Some FAMU employees said they felt like they are “being swept under the rug,” according to Affiliate of AFSCME and Campus Unions President Andre Crumity.  Crumity explained that the demonstration was to not only bring awareness to key stakeholders at FAMU, but to the community in Tallahassee as well.

“A lot of folks don’t know the things that we have to do on this campus and tolerate on this campus,” Crumity said. “When we get to the bargaining table when it comes to wages there is always a problem so we’re trying to bring awareness to this with this demonstration here.”

AFSCME is Florida’s fastest growing union and it advocates for opportunities and fairness for all working families in Florida, according to its website.

The United Faculty of Florida (UFF) share the same values as AFSCME, said Roscoe Hightower, president of the FAMU chapter of UFF. It wants to ensure that FAMU employees receive rights and opportunities as a part of their collective bargaining agreement.

Hightower, a professor in the School of Business & Industry, took part in today’s demonstration.

He said he wanted to help bring awareness to the lack of pay increases for FAMU employees.

“We are responsible for all formal negotiations with the board of trustees as it relates to terms and conditions of employment for our people in the union,” Hightower said. “UFF FAMU is in complete support for AFSCME, and they asked us to come out and support them in their struggle and you’re going to see more and more labor unions supporting each other as the struggle continues. The biggest impact today is making the community aware of what goes on the campus.”

For more information on how to get involved with AFSCME Florida and UFF visit their websites afscmefl.org and rattlersweb.com