Yolanda Willis was among the nearly three dozen secretaries, analysts, lawyers and university professors who marched on the state's Old Capitol Wednesday morning in support of a 5% pay increase for state workers.
Willis, who took time off from her job at Florida A&M University as an administrative assistant, wasn't dismayed by the low turnout for a labor union’s rally in a city where more than 19,000 state workers live.
“Sometimes it only takes a few people to show up to make a change,” said Willis, as chants of “Union! Power!” echoed along Monroe Street while the marchers approached the Capitol Complex.
Negotiations for a new three-year contract between AFSCME Florida, the union representing nearly half of state workers, and state officials are at an impasse. A final negotiation session of the year is scheduled for Dec. 30.
Speakers at Wednesday's rally expressed frustration with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2020-21 budget recommendation that contains no raise or cost of living increase for workers. They said in the past 12 years workers received just two 3% pay hikes and a pay cut.