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Teamsters defeat PBA to become new prison union

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters won an election Thursday and will replace the Florida Police Benevolent Association as the official bargaining agent for about 20,000 correctional officers and probation officers statewide.

The newly-created Teamsters Local 2011 in Florida will be based in Tampa.

"Of course we are disappointed in the result but nevertheless plan to continue to fight for the rights of corrections professionals," said PBA Corrections President James Baiardi. "We will continue to serve our corrections and probation members through legal defense and grievances. It has been an honor to represent these officers and we wish them well."

The PBA became a potent political force in the three decades it represented correctional officers, but recent events have undercut the union's image. Rank-and-file state workers have not had an across-the-board pay increase in five years, and the Legislature last spring sought to privatize about one-fourth of the entire prison system, which put thousands of corrections officers jobs at risk. (The outsourcing was struck down by a state judge and is unresolved).

-- Steve Bousquet