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Latest News - July 2011

July 28, 2011
Winter Park employees say no to union
Source: Fox 35 News
By: Tracy Jacim

City workers in Winter Park won't be joining the ranks of the city's fire and police departments.

Thursday night, 148 workers voted, and an overwhelming majority voted no.

And when you officials with the City of Winter Park, they say they are pleased with the vote. They say unions are pointless in a right to work state where you can't really strike anyway. Plus, they cost money, and cause adversarial relationships, they say.

And when FOX 35 caught up with a few voters as they walked into the Winter Park Farmer's Market to cast their vote, they agreed.

"When you bang on my door like you're the FBI and gestapo, and that's putting it mildly, and they roused my neighbors and everything because of it, that's not what I want,” said Parks worker Dominick Marchese. When asked why they came to his home, Marchese replied, "To enroll me."

In the end, Winter Park City Spokeswoman Clarissa Howard said 116 of the 159 workers voted the same: no to unionizing.

But 32 workers did cast a yes vote -- the freezing of all pay raises over the past three years one of the reasons why.

Winter Park's police and fire departments are, of course, already unionized and the police union president showed up to support the idea that failed.

President Marty Barber said, "You have employees that have not received pay raises in years, living paycheck to paycheck, and they're in dire need."

Winter Park actually hired an out-of-state consultant to, as they put it educate employees about unions before the vote. It cost the city $2,500 a day for eight days – that’s $20,000 in taxpayer money.

Police Union President Barber said, "$20,000 that could have stayed and helped take care of employees, or other things for citizens here in Winter Park."

But city spokeswoman Clarissa Howard says it was money well spent, to educate. She says, "There's no regrets on educating our employees."

The union American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) released a statement after the vote, claiming the commission “influences outcome of employee union election.”

“Today Winter Park municipal service employees were unsuccessful in their efforts to organize themselves into a union. This, despite two-thirds of them having petitioned to form their union in April,” reads the statement.

 

 


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