In the span of one week, more than 500 Florida workers with the Osceola County Department of Corrections and MV Transportation joined Local 385 in Orlando, proving that there is strength in numbers.
“We’re honored to welcome these hardworking new members to the Teamsters,” said Mike Stapleton, President of Local 385.
More than 200 correctional officers with Osceola County came together seeking fairness, an end to favoritism and a voice at work. They joined the union after seeing the success of the nearly 20,000 Florida Department of Corrections officers who joined the Teamsters in November last year.
“We’re all very excited and the morale has definitely gone up,” said Officer Laura Forehand. “I know the Teamsters have a good reputation and a good name. We needed a real union.”
“They stood strong, never waivered and stayed motivated. They voted 2 to 1,” said Roger Allain, an organizer with Local 385.
Officer Gabriela Torres, a 10-year veteran with the department, said she wants to close the gap between the officers and the administration.
“We should all be working together. I want this to be a safer, healthier and more proactive working environment for the officers. The Teamsters represent a lot of law enforcement and we need a union with that experience on our side of the table,” Torres said.
“Our health care premiums went up. We’ve had no raises for three years. The favoritism is heavy, with picking and choosing of who gets which posts,” Officer Pete Hernandez said. “We’ve come together and everyone is happier now that we’re moving in the right direction. We’ve accomplished something big.”
Driven to Succeed
The 300 MV Transportation drivers, who also recently voted overwhelmingly to join Local 385, provide paratransit services in the Orlando area.
“We need help badly here, and living in a right-to-work state, we need the right representation. The company has the resources to fix the equipment, the pay and the way things are run,” said Al Rollock, an MV Transportation driver and 20-year Teamster with DHL.
The drivers were previously members of another union, but dissatisfaction over declining wages, rising health care costs and favoritism, among other concerns, led to the change in representation.
“We’re looking forward to a new beginning with the Teamsters. I was a Teamster and I know our situation will improve as Teamsters,” Rollock said.