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SEIU Florida Announces “Vote for Freedom” Platform To Serve State’s Workers, Families, Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Ed Gilhuly, egilhuly@leftcom.com, 305-807-6906

MIRAMAR, FL — SEIU Florida, which represents more than 55,000 active and retired health care professionals, public employees, airport workers, adjunct faculty and property service staff in the state, has announced its “Vote for Freedom” platform for the 2018 Election that highlights the needs and basic freedoms of working Floridians to support their families.

The platform -- backed by a $5 million union investment in get-out-the-vote, communication and other outreach efforts -- features the four freedoms of:
-- Union rights.
-- Good wages.
-- Quality, affordable health care.
-- Affordable housing.

“Beginning with worker and union rights, our members understand how much is at stake for everyday Floridians in this year’s critical election,” said Monica Russo, president of SEIU Florida. “When unions are strong and Floridians have the freedom to pursue their dreams and support their families, we all win.”

On union rights, SEIU Florida’s “Vote for Freedom” platform includes these details:

Our Right to Form and Join a Union

Study after study show that union workers earn better wages and benefits, have substantially better working conditions and a stronger voice at work, which lifts up standards for all workers in the community. Those in power are actively working to dismantle unions so they can keep power and profits for themselves. That’s not good for Florida, so we need to fight for this right to form and join a union.

Collective Bargaining Rights

It is a basic right for workers to be able to negotiate across the table from management so that we can secure good wages and benefits and a quality work environment.

A Voice at Work

With a voice on the job, we can reassert working class values and hold our employers accountable to make decisions that are not only good for business, but good for our families and communities as well.

Safe and Productive Working Conditions

Through our union, we have the power to ensure safe working conditions and a quality work environment. This is essential to ensuring our health and safety and providing the best service possible to our communities.

“In Florida, however, working people have been neglected for decades by politicians and other powerful interests that enrich themselves while trying to obstruct our freedom to form and stand together as a union,” Russo said.  “This year we have a fantastic opportunity to change the direction of our state by electing leaders such as Andrew Gillum who will fight to pass smart, fair policy and truly serve the people.  Andrew comes from humble roots, has a huge heart and is a determined bulldog for everyday working folks.”

SEIU Florida officially endorsed Gillum in his bid to be Florida’s next governor based on these traits, his strong record as Tallahassee mayor and his pledge to bring working-class values to the governor’s office.

The union also announced a $5 million investment in the November elections to support candidates statewide who will serve working Floridians.  Additionally, hundreds of SEIU Florida members have pledged thousands of hours to canvass neighborhoods each weekend, work phone banks and participate in dozens of other get-out-the-vote actions between now and election day.

These efforts build upon the past three years in which SEIU has invested $2.7 million annually to build a base of leaders and activists in communities across the state to lift up middle-class needs and concerns.

Specific issues include a living wage for nursing home employees who care for our seniors but can’t afford health care for themselves, including a minimum wage of $15 per hour; protection of Medicare and expansion of Medicaid; and support for the right of adjunct faculty, airport workers and others to join a union.

“Working eighty hours a week at minimum wage to barely feed your children or pay your rent is not freedom.  Going bankrupt because you get sick and don’t have insurance is not freedom.  Having no voice or security in your workplace is not freedom,” Russo said. “Our political platform is inspired for and by working people who want positive, sweeping change and who demand their rights and real freedoms this election year.”

Details on the other main planks of the SEIU Florida “Vote for Freedom” platform – wages, healthcare and housing -- will be announced in coming weeks prior to the elections.

For more information on SEIU Florida, visit www.seiufl.org.

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SEIU Florida represents over 55,000 active and retired healthcare professionals, public employees and property service workers in the state of Florida. SEIU members provide vital public services in Florida’s hospitals, nursing homes, public schools, community colleges, municipal and county governments, malls, and universities. With over 2.1 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in North America.