Local 1245 members are on the ground in Florida, helping fight state legislation that threatens public sector union members. Local 1245 member Charley Souders offers this first-hand account of what’s going on.
The IBEW Local 1245 team in Tampa consists of myself and Erika Barron.
The team started off with a strategic overview meeting with AFSCME Staff Director John Salsbury and the rest of the IBEW 1245 Florida team members in Orlando. The meeting summarized what the union members were facing as a result of the recent legislative proposals made by both the Florida Governor Rick Scott and Florida’s State Senator Thrasher.
The team arrived in Tampa on Wednesday, April 13 and held its first on-site meeting in Tampa with one of AFSCME’s top lobbyists, David Mendoza. During the meeting they discussed their specialized assignments within the Tampa area. In order to complete the assignments within the timelines needed, they recruited other local AFSCME members and joined forces with members from the Central Labor Council, American Federation of Teachers, Service Employees International Union, Florida Consumer Action Network, and Democracy For America.
They are currently planning media events locally within Tampa while targeting and informing the voting public of the proposed legislation. The team is reaching out to the public and encouraging them to put pressure on their Senators by contacting them and voicing their opinions.
In addition, while attending a local downtown community event called “Take Back The Night” in downtown Tampa, the IBEW and AFSCME Tampa teams showed their solidarity to Tampa’s Mayor Bob Buckhorn when they met him at the local event. On Monday, April 18 we rallied with the other local union members in front of Bank of America’s Plaza and corporate offices in downtown Tampa.
The rally was being held on tax day in order to make the point that corporations are not paying their fair share of taxes in comparison with average American workers.
The Tampa team has plans to continue working closely with their brothers and sisters in order to place the appropriate pressure on Florida’s Senators. Hopefully our efforts will help to influence the Senators to make the right decision and vote “no” on the recently-amended Senate Bill 830 as it is still detrimental to unions. We are currently assisting the presidents of the local AFSCME units with Senate Bill 830 protest letters to be hand delivered to some of the local Senator’s offices this week.