AFL-CIO president Mike Williams didn't quite say it, but the deal that's been struck in the Senate protects 184 union railroad workers in South and Central Florida. The signalmen and maintenance-of-way workers will continue to enjoy federal pension benefits and federal job-protection benefits.
Getting the union on board not only helps draw Democratic votes in the Legislature, it can be used in the halls of a Democratic Congress to help Florida win federal money for bullet trains.
The big question: is the agreement to save union jobs a deal with the executive and therefore will the bill simply pass out of the Senate? Seems so now. But the Senate just rolled the bill to third and there's no amendment for labor in sight.
Here's Williams' statement:
“The Florida AFL-CIO has achieved compromise with the Florida Department of Transportation and South Florida Regional Transportation Authority regarding HB 1B that addresses our serious objections and concerns voiced at the start of special session concerning job preservation and passenger safety on Florida’s railways. After long negotiations and discussions with Senate leadership and Senate Democrats, the primary concern of the Florida AFL-CIO, the preservation of the existing high quality rail jobs. Our goal of stopping the displacement of federally-qualified railroad workers from Florida’s passenger and freight railroads will not be compromised as experienced rail workers will continue to maintain Florida’s railways.”