June 22, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Tallahassee, FL – With city workers here making their third effort in 15 years to join a union, the Florida capital’s government is resisting. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers began helping city workers organize in February after several utility department workers asked for its assistance.
Tallahassee City Manager Rick Fernandez responded by sending emails to all employees telling them that IBEW dues are $500 a year and that signing an authorization card “could result in our inability to discuss directly the terms and conditions of your employment with you, like your wages and benefits.” The city’s 2,600 employees are all nonunion except for police and firefighters, and Fernandez is insisting that an election on whether to unionize would have to include all employees. Workers “are scared to death” about the prospect of layoffs and increases in health-care costs, IBEW organizer Doug Williams told the Tallahassee Democrat. The “atmosphere is perfect” for a union to win a vote, he added. “You see what all public employees are going through.” Read more