Election Set For State Prison Workers Union

September 27, 2016

Secret ballots are poised to go out in a union battle over representation for workers in Florida’s corrections system.

The ballots will start going out October 10 to the state’s prison and probation workers, who will have until November 14 to return their votes to the Public Employees Relations Commission. The commission will count the ballots on November 15, according to a press release issued Monday by the Florida Police Benevolent Association.

The Florida PBA — which served as the collective-bargaining representative for corrections and probations officers for three decades — is attempting a comeback after being ousted by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in 2011.

Teamsters Local 2011 had sought a delay in the election after choosing a new leader, Kimberly Schultz, on August 31. Because of the transition to new leadership, Schultz and her lawyers argued that the Florida Teamsters needed more time to mount a campaign against the PBA.

But the Public Employees Relations Commission refused to postpone the distribution of the ballots, saying that to do so “would entangle the commission in an internal union dispute it does not have the authority to resolve.”

Delaying the election would also “give the appearance that the commission is violating its duty to remain neutral in matters related to the election campaign,” commission Chairwoman Donna Maggert Poole wrote in a unanimous decision joined by Commissioners James Bax and Curt Kiser.

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