The Phoenix Flyer

The Florida Democratic Party is now a union shop

By: - December 18, 2020 1:45 pm

Florida Capitol, Colin Hackley

The Florida Democratic Party has gone union. Henceforth, rank-and-file employees will be represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, or IBEW, Local 824 of the AFL-CIO.

“The Florida Democratic Party and the labor movement have consistently been advocates for working people,” Party chair Terrie Rizzo said in a written statement released Friday.

“By unionizing, the Florida Democratic Party is making history and living our values” and putting “our workers and employees at the center of our party,” she said.

“The Florida Democratic Party is a part of the growing number of Democratic organizations who are displaying their commitment to working Americans not just in words, but in actions,” said John Parker, president of party’s labor caucus.

“This is a fantastic step for Democrats in Florida and I want to congratulate Terrie Rizzo, the FDP and IBEW for their commitment to the labor movement and working families.”

The Tampa Bay Times reports that unions have represented workers for the Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders presidential campaigns plus state parties in Kentucky, Montana, and Oregon.

The move comes as the party — having lost Florida to Donald Trump and losing seats in the Legislature — prepares to vote in new leadership.

The candidates who’ll compete on a yet-to-be-determined date in mid-January include former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, Democratic National Committee member Nikki Barnes, Hillsborough County chair Ione Townsend, Alachua County chair Cynthia Moore Chestnut, and environmental caucus chair Janelle Christensen, according to Florida Politics.

The union process was entirely friendly, with party management helping organizers settle job classifications and other matters, party spokeswoman Alexandra Caffrey said in a telephone interview.

“This is something that has been in the works for some time. They started negotiations and talking through the process about eight months ago. It’s something that has been on the to-do list for a long time,” she said.

Twenty-nine people work for the party, but some of them are in management and won’t belong to the bargaining unit, Caffrey said.

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.