by Helene O’Brien
32BJ Florida Director
As we begin 2016 and look forward to everything a new year can bring, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on what we, together, have achieved as a union in Florida throughout 2015.
It was an incredible year full of accomplishments that would not have been possible without amazing members willing to fight to keep the union strong – and grow stronger.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of 32BJ members and workers, we passed a living wage for subcontracted airline workers! This marks another win in a long line of victories, including employee break rooms in each terminal and a worker retention policy that protects workers’ jobs when contractors are replaced by a new company.
Airport workers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport went on strike to demand better wages and conditions, joining thousands of airport workers in the largest national airport strike in history!
32BJ members led rallies in Miami and Fort Lauderdale as part of the nationwide Fight for $15 actions! We joined hundreds of fast-food workers and other underpaid workers in the biggest-ever nationwide action for a $15 minimum wage.
32BJ members helped elect City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell! 32BJ members knocked on doors and made phone calls to help elect Ken, a champion of workers’ rights, while defeating a candidate who was in the pocket of big business and special interests.
After 32BJ members from the Shops at Sunset Place were unjustly let go by a non-union contractor, we took to the streets and garnered massive support from politicians, the press, and the community. After tremendous public pressure, we were successful in getting the new mall owners to sit down at the negotiating table. The fight continues: 32BJ continues to stand by the cleaners until they get their jobs back.
We bargained a strong contract for Morrison workers at Coral Gables Hospital and won 100% employer paid health care, an 8.5% wage increase, and doubled the company’s pension investment!
This will be a big year for 32BJ in Florida. We’ll be bargaining contracts for hundreds of local workers, continue the fight to give airport workers better wages and conditions, and we’ll be working hard to elect candidates who represent working families in the 2016 elections.
I wish you and your loved ones a happy and safe new year, and I look forward to working with you to deliver wins for all workers in 2016.