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FL: Union Members Want Out

An Escambia County worker is petitioning fellow employees to try to dissolve the local transit union that represents them

A lengthy wage dispute between the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1395 and the county has caused some employees to sour on the union.

“I really don’t believe the union can do us much good,” said Tom Moore, who is heading up the effort to decertify the union. “(The union) has been arguing with the commissioners for two years and still hasn’t gotten us our raise.”

But as a union member, equipment operator Bill Robertson, 48, disagrees.

“Before they vote to have the union taken out, they need to do two things,” said Robertson, who works in the Roads and Bridges Department. “They need to understand the union is the only protection we as county workers have. Secondly, those people need to come to union meetings and hear what goes on and be able to voice their opinions.”

If the union’s contract with county employees is ended, the 307 county employees represented by the union will go back to being “at will” employees. That means they can be fired at will, without cause, and no longer will have a representative to look out for their interests as employees.

Moore thinks the union is holding up his pay raise. He refers to negotiations between the union and a county negotiating team, which agreed to a 3 percent cost-of-living wage increase for union employees. However, county commissioners instead approved a 2 percent cost-of-living increase and a 1 percent merit raise because of its tight budget.

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