Originally Published September 5, 2016
The final days of summer are here.
Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, the last hurrah before the fall. It’s a time for barbecues and beers, to spend a few days floating in the pool or relaxing on the deck.
But it’s also meant to be a chance to celebrate the American worker. First established in 1894, Labor Day was celebrated in industrial centers across the country. While labor unions may not hold as much clout in Florida, they are still present in every Floridian’s life.
They’re the police officers that walk the street, state employees who keep the trains running on time, and the teachers and professors who help mold the minds of young Floridians.
The Florida State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police was chartered in 1950, and currently serves 20,000 members in 100 local lodges across the state. The state FOP aims to promote and foster the enforcement of law and order.
When the Florida FOP needs a hand in the Legislature, they turn to Lisa Henning, their legislative liaison.
The FOP isn’t the only organization looking out for Florida’s men and women in blue. The Florida Police Benevolent Association was established in 1972, and is an advocate for law enforcement and their families.
You’ll find Matt Puckett, the executive director, advocating on behalf of law enforcement officers in front of the Legislature. He’s joined by PBA members Ali Davidson, Ernest George, Arthur Hoffman, Gene Johnson, John Kazanjian, Kenneth Kopczynski, Jeffrey Marano, Mike McHale, John Rivera, and Ernest George.
When the Florida PBA needs an extra hand dealing with the Legislature, they turn Gary Bradford at the Bradford Group.
The Florida PBA was among the organizations that pushed for legislation this past session to increase the death benefits for first responders killed in the line of duty. Signed into law earlier this year, the legislation increases benefits for survivors in both the investment plan and the pension plan to 100 percent of the salary at the time of an officer’s death.
When it comes to protecting the interests of Florida’s firefighters and EMS personnel, look no further than the Florida Professional Firefighters. Founded in 1944, the Florida association now has 150 local affiliates and more than 24,000 members. The organization has become known as one of the most effective and respected voices in the Capitol.
Allison Carvajal from Ramba Consulting Group and Screven Watson from Screven Watson & Associates have the firefighters’ back when they go before the Legislature. The association looks to George Marsh, the group’s secretary and treasurer; Rocco Salvatori, the association’s vice president; Richard Sicking; and James Tolley, the group’s president, for its legislative lobbying needs.
As Florida prepares for a battle over workers’ compensation, get ready to hear more from Florida’s labor unions. The Florida AFL-CIO is already weighing in, with Rich Templin, the organization’s legislative and political director, calling proposed rate hikes the first shot in the fight.
The Federation of Public Employees AFL-CIO has the father-daughter team of Candice Ericksand Dave Ericks with Ericks Consultants watching its back; while AFSCME Florida Council 79 has the team of Slater Bayliss and Justin Day with The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners looking out for its interests.
Representing 19,000 workers across the state, SEIU Florida Public Services union has members in eight counties, 16 cities, three Head Start agencies and four school districts. When it needs help working with the Florida Legislature, SEIU Florida turns to Alexander Samuel Ring, its political director.
And before you pop open your next beer, make sure to thank an educator this weekend. They’re working their hardest to shape the next generation of great Floridians. And to do that to the best of their ability, many turn to the Florida Education Association to advance their causes.
The statewide association represents more than 140,000 teachers and school support professionals in the state. While Florida teachers are shaping the minds of young Floridians, Ronald Bilbao, Catherine Boehme, Tina Dunbar, Luke Flynt, Fedrick Ingram, Joanne McCall, Sharon Nesvig, Eric Riley, Lynda Russell, Jacqueline Sisto, Kevin Watson, and Jeff Wright are watching out for Florida’s teachers.
And when the FEA needs an extra hand, it turns to Albert Balido with Anfield Consulting and Ron Meyer at Florida Legislative Associates.