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FAMU Workers Win At Bargaining Table, Continue To Build Power

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By Kelly Benjamin, AFSCME Florida Worth the Fight Workers' Rights

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Hundreds of AFSCME-represented workers at Florida A&M University, one of the nation’s highly regarded historically black universities, have a new contract at long last.

FAMU workers lined up at the ballot box over their lunchbreaks on Tuesday to cast their vote in a historic election – to ratify a contract that was the result of seven months of negotiations with the university’s administrators.

When the votes were tallied, it became clear that the fight was worth it: workers with AFSCME Local 3343 had voted unanimously to approve the new contract, which delivered a one-time $2,431 bonus to each FAMU employee as well as an extra paid day off per year. 

"When you organize with your co-workers and fight back, you win," said Local 3343 President Andre Crumity.

The contract covers nearly 500 FAMU support staff for the preceding 2018-19 school year.

"This is a huge first step for the struggling families that give so much to make this school function," said Local 3343 Vice President Jason Finley. "Our goal is to keep up the momentum and move toward a substantial base salary increase in line with a living wage when negotiations resume this fall."

The victory was a culmination of months of back and forth with the administration after FAMU initially rejected the union's proposal of a $2,500 base salary increase for support staff.

Meanwhile, FAMU workers are continuing to build power on campus. At Tuesday's vote, over 15 new university support personnel joined AFSCME. 

"This agreement means a lot for working families here in Tallahassee," said Finley. “But we still have a lot of work to do and we look forward to working with the administration to strengthen this institution for workers and students alike." 

For more on the fight for fair wages at FAMU check out recent coverage here, here and here.