Harvey Budd – City Commission at Large Candidate Questionnaire

1) What are the biggest issues facing working people in the City of Gainesville?

  • Jobs that do not pay a living wage or offer quality benefits
  • The reduction in trades and occupations represented by labor unions
  • Lack of jobs, especially in skilled trades
  • Inadequate educational opportunities for workers and the children of working parents

2) Do you support paying a living wage for all City workers including part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted workers? (The ACLC defines a living wage as 125% of the Federal Poverty Level – currently $14.78 an hour).

  1. How will you ensure contracted workers are paid the set wage
  2. What is your plan to get us there?

My goal is to get all City of Gainesville workers to $15 / per hour.  The biggest question is how do we get them there without causing too much wage stress for the remaining more experienced and higher paid employees.

At this time, we are increasing paying the wages for most employees by at least $.50 per hour per year.  Simultaneously, we are doing a wage study in order to increase wages for most employees.   We have set aside a large amount of money in the 2017/2018 budget for salary increases.  By raising the City minimum wage by approximately $.50 per year we will reach $15 / per hour in the next 4 to 5 years.  In New York State and California they have similar plans to reach $15 / per hour in 4 to 5 years.  So Gainesville will be in line with the major metro areas by then.

3) What other ideas do you have to help improve wages and benefits for workers throughout our community?

We need a progression of major employees in the community to state publicly that they will pay at least $15/per hour as a bare minimum wage, and do so within the next 4 years, at the most.  Ideally, they should enact such wages ASAP.  A good place to start is with the University of Florida, an institution that seems to have money for certain things but not for the Gainesville citizens who work there.  We then go to Santa Fe College, other large employers, and the Alachua County School Board.   We would ask all of them to raise wages for underpaid employees by 4% per year, 2% for normal cost of living wage increase and an additional 2% for raising the base salary.  In effect the 4% when rounded up should be at approximately $.50 per year, and or at least $2.75 over 5 years.

4) Do you support providing paid administrative leave for part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted City workers in the event of emergency work closures (e.g., hours missed due to Hurricane Irma)?

Yes.  It is a disgrace that workers who were displaced by the storms or other environmental issues should suffer twice by not being paid.

 

5) If you are an employer: Do you pay all your workers a living wage?

I do, as does my wife.  My television business pays all full time employees at least $15/hour, plus medical insurance and a travel stipend.  I have only one part time employee, paid $13/hour, but he works from home.

My wife pays her part-time employees a starting wage of $12.50/hour, and raises it $.50 every year.

6) Do you support a “Renters Bill of Rights’” which would:

  • inform renters of their rights under existing laws
  • offer an alternative to costly courts to settle disputes over security deposits and damages
  • protect renters from high utility bills by enacting policies that require landlords to make basic investments in energy efficiency

Yes to all of the above.  These are all great ideas and should be implemented.

However, we would need to carefully craft the policies to increase the energy efficiency of leased residences.  One way to start is with a simple requirement of full disclosure.  Landlords should provide their prospective tenants with some accurate record of the most recent utility bills, perhaps going back several years.

This requirement would work to increase the incentive for a landlord to make energy efficient renovations because, if the utility bills are very high, the landlord would be faced with the choice of lowering the rent and/or increasing the energy efficiency of the unit, in order to attract prospective renters.

In addition, instead of a blanket requirement that landlords install certain types of appliances, windows, doors, etc., we could come up with ways the City could incentivize such renovations.

7) Do you support a local hiring preference that includes the use of certified apprenticeship programs for taxpayer-funded projects?

Yes, this is a great way to increase the availability of trade education opportunities.  Until our county schools get the funds they truly need from the legislature, it is up to individual progressive municipalities like our own to find creative ways to provide education for skilled laborers.

Charles Goston – Gainesville City Commission District 1 Candidate Questionaire

1) What are the biggest issues facing working people in the City of Gainesville?

High GRU bills, high bills and fees, lack of good paying jobs, poor bus service, and crumbling city streets.

2) Do you support paying a living wage for all City workers including part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted workers? (The ACLC defines a living wage as 125% of the Federal Poverty Level – currently $14.78 an hour). How will you ensure contracted workers are paid the set wage? What is your plan to get us there?

I’ve heard some pretty compelling arguments that applying salary requirements to contract workers has the effect of eliminating contract workers has the effect of eliminating contracts that might otherwise have gone to local family companies that have been able to undercut the big companies but under a forced salary requirement would lose that advantage and those contracts.

3) What other ideas do you have to help improve wages and benefits for workers throughout our community?

Bringing new businesses to the Eastside is the best way to improve the lot of workers.

4) Do you support providing paid administrative leave for part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted City workers in the event of emergency work closures (e.g., hours missed due to Hurricane Irma)?

Unnecessary expenditures in the city budget will have to be made in order to prevent job cuts and layoffs when economic downturns arrive.

5) If you are an employer: Do you pay all your workers a living wage? If you do not: How are you making an effort to do so?

6) Do you support a “Renters Bill of Rights’” which would:

  • inform renters of their rights under existing laws
  • offer an alternative to costly courts to settle disputes over security deposits damages
  • protect renters from high utility bills by enacting policies that require landlords to make basic investments in energy efficiency

I don’t see any problem with the first two bullet points. The third bullet seems problematic to me. I would think that if the City simply made available the average cost of electricity in various apartment units around town and required that information to be made available to renters the market would take care of this issue.

7) Do you support a local hiring preference that includes the use of certified apprenticeship programs for taxpayer funded projects?

Any money related to employment may be more beneficial going to workers.

OPS White Paper

Download a copy of the Alachua County Labor Coalition white paper titled “Part-Time Poverty: Hourly OPS Workers at UF”.

We look forward to working with the University of Florida to address the issues of racial pay disparities, denial of sick leave or paid holidays, and lack of state health insurance access all stemming from the misuse use of long term temporary employment under the OPS classification.

Part-Time Poverty_ Hourly OPS Workers at UF

OPS Student Data from the same data

 

 

Office Hours and Upcoming Meetings

The ACLC now has standing office hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1-4:30pm.

See all events and details on the ACLC Facebook Events page!

  • Jan. 11, 6pm:
    • Planning Yoho demonstration
    • Location: ACLC Office
  • Jan. 26, 4:30 pm:
    • Yoho Donor Protest
    • Location: 4701 SW 34th St, Gainesville, FL 32608-2549
  • Jan. 30, 6pm:
    • Membership Meeting
    • Location: Mennonite Church
  • Feb. 8, 5:30pm:
    • Living Wage Meeting
    • Location: ACLC Office

Upcoming Meetings, Posted in December

Month Week Day
February 2018
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
January 29, 2018 January 30, 2018

Category: General6:00 pm: January Membership Meeting

6:00 pm: January Membership Meeting
January 31, 2018 February 1, 2018 February 2, 2018 February 3, 2018 February 4, 2018
February 5, 2018 February 6, 2018 February 7, 2018 February 8, 2018

Category: General5:30 pm: Living Wage Campaign Meeting

5:30 pm: Living Wage Campaign Meeting
February 9, 2018 February 10, 2018 February 11, 2018
February 12, 2018 February 13, 2018

Category: General7:30 pm: Support OPS Worker at UF Student Senate

7:30 pm: Support OPS Worker at UF Student Senate
February 14, 2018 February 15, 2018

Category: General5:30 pm: Living Wage Certification Project - Open Meeting!

5:30 pm: Living Wage Certification Project - Open Meeting!

Category: General5:30 pm: Living Wage Meeting

5:30 pm: Living Wage Meeting
February 16, 2018 February 17, 2018 February 18, 2018
February 19, 2018 February 20, 2018 February 21, 2018 February 22, 2018 February 23, 2018 February 24, 2018 February 25, 2018
February 26, 2018 February 27, 2018

Category: General6:30 pm: February Membership Meeting

6:30 pm: February Membership Meeting
February 28, 2018 March 1, 2018 March 2, 2018 March 3, 2018 March 4, 2018

Upcoming Meetings, Posted in November

See all events and details on the ACLC Facebook Events page!

  • Nov. 14, 5:30pm, Just Healthcare meeting, at the ACLC office
  • Nov. 14, 4:45pm: Know Your Rights as a Santa Fe Worker!
    • Building P at Santa Fe College Gainesville
  • Nov. 16, 4pm: UF Faculty Senate, discussion on paying OPS Workers
  • Nov. 17, all day: Demand UF Pay OPS Workers for Missed Days! SIGN and SHARE
  • Nov. 28: Membership Meeting at the Mennonite Church
  • Dec. 5, 5:30pm: ACLC Board Meeting, at the ACLC Office
  • Dec. 16, 8pm: Veterans for Peace, Winter Solstice Concert, Unitarian Church
  • Dec. 19, 6-8pm; Holiday Potluck at: Working Food, 219 NW 10th Ave, Gainesville, Florida 32601

See all events and details on the ACLC Facebook Events page!

A Living Wage & the Right to a Union at Santa Fe College

-written by an anonymous Santa Fe employee

Over the past few years the Alachua County Labor Coalition has helped put millions of dollars directly into the pockets of working people through our efforts to combat wage theft and our living wage campaign targeting Alachua County’s largest employers. While we’ve had significant success with those institutions whose decision-making bodies are publicly elected—the City of Gainesville, Alachua County, and the School Board—other large employers who are not directly accountable to our community have been more difficult to reach. Among those employers is Santa Fe College (SFC), which is both nationally-recognized and a bedrock institution of this community.

While no one questions SFC’s mission or the great work that it does for this community, it is clearly not living up to its employer responsibilities as a publicly-subsidized institution. SFC’s President and four Vice-Presidents combined salaries (not including benefits) well exceed $1 million/year, yet the college maintains a large number of poverty-wage jobs as well as an army of part-time adjuncts and staff, with official college policy to keep those employees below 28.5 hours/week so that the college does not have to contribute to their health care expenses. The college was also found guilty of overtime violations in the past few years and forced to pay thousands of dollars in back pay to its workers. As with other large local employers, the Labor Coalition is calling on SFC to commit to raising all of its workers to a living wage, including a provision for health care. Other local employers, including Alachua County, Infinite Energy, the City of Gainesville, Nationwide Insurance, and the Alachua County School Board, have all committed themselves to a multi-year plan to achieve a living wage for their workers; SFC should do the same.

Unlike its sister institution the University of Florida, SFC workers have no union representation whatsoever and in fact, the institution has responded aggressively to undermine union organizing on campus. Recognizing that workplace democracy is the only true route to workers’ rights, and in light of SFC’s past actions, the Labor Coalition is also calling on SFC to commit to a union neutrality pledge, promising not to interfere whatsoever in workers’ right to join a union. That means no anti-union propaganda, no hiring big money union-busting law firms, and no retaliation against workers who support a union.

These are not radical demands. Any institution, but particularly one that is publicly-subsidized and so intensely focused on its branding, would be wise to acquiesce. Whether SFC and its Governor-appointed Board of Trustees chooses to do so will likely depend upon what they hear from the Gainesville community. If you’d like to get involved in the Labor Coalition’s living wage campaign and help to raise the tide for all workers in this community, please contact us at info@laborcoalition.org or 352-375-2832.

Upcoming Meetings, Posted in October

Upcoming meetings & events:

  • Tues., Oct. 24, Alachua County Labor Coalition Membership Meeting, 6:30-7:30pm
  • Thurs, Oct. 26th, Living Wage campaign meeting. 5:30pm at the ACLC office (901 NW 8th Ave., Suite A1)
  • Wed., Nov. 1st, Just Healthcare meeting, 6:30pm
  • Tues, Nov. 7th, ACLC Board meeting. 5:30pm at the ACLC office
  • Tues, Nov. 14th, Just Healthcare meeting. 5:30pm at the ACLC office