IAM Participates in Nationwide Union Outreach Campaign at Florida State University

IAM Southern Territory Associate Organizer Maria Revelles and District 75 Directing Business Representative Steve Jordan participated in a “Labor Spring” event at Florida State University’s (FSU’s) Tallahassee campus to promote union organizing in higher education.

“Labor Spring” is a national series of union teach-ins and actions at academic institutions initiated by the Labor and Working Class History Association.

“This was one of the events happening throughout the nation,” said Revelles. “There was one in Washington, DC, at Georgetown University and another in New York. They happen in different forms: some are panel discussions, and some have speakers. This is the first time that FSU has done something like this.” 

Revelles, who has been a labor organizer her entire adult life since graduating college, says that the labor renaissance, with new union organizing in non-traditional workplaces, spurred the Labor Spring campaign.

This Labor Spring event was put together by the United Faculty of Florida Chapter at FSU, The Big Bend Labor Council, and the Graduate Assistants United Chapter at FSU.

“With more than 60 events in 27 states, Labor Spring is one of the largest series of labor-focused teach-ins in recent memory,” said FSU undergraduate student Joshua Soffler at the event’s opening. “In a time where unions and public education are under attack by bills such as S.B. 256 and H.B. 999, it’s important to educate young people about labor unions and bring our union community together.”  

Union organizers and local union representatives were stationed at booths to hand out information and answer questions. Local and state-wide labor leaders, including  AFL-CIO Political Director Michael Podhorzer, United Faculty of Florida President Andrew Gothard, Starbucks workers, local AFSCME leaders, teachers, FSU faculty, and FSU graduate assistants, spoke.

“Experienced organizers and local union presidents were having conversations with the students that want to join a union,” said Revelles. “Participants were able to speak on stage about why labor is important in today’s political and economic climate, and the students were leads on that.”

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