Florida State Council of Machinists recently visited legislators in Tallahassee to discuss the importance of jobs in sugarcane farming and manufacturing in Florida. In their meetings, they shared that sugarcane farming and production support 19,201 jobs in Florida and has a $4.7 billion annual impact, including many union positions requiring skilled trades, such as machinists and welders.
Additionally, they discussed the Florida industry’s diverse workforce that reflects the citizens of the state and the loyalty and respect among workers for the jobs – many are the second or third generation in the shops and factories.
“Our members understand the importance of speaking with the Florida state lawmakers on the importance of protecting the sugar industry,” said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Rickey Wallace. “The type of lobbying allows our Union to have a voice in the districts where our members live and work. “The IAM members have been engaged with Florida state lawmakers on the importance of protecting the sugar industry and the impact on local neighborhoods where IAM members live and work. We must remain vigilant in protecting the jobs and economic benefits to the Florida communities.”
Sugarcane farming and production have offered Florida’s rural communities steady, quality jobs for more than 80 years. Despite economic downturns, agriculture has provided reliable jobs for our families and economic activity for our communities.
Some of the IAM members that traveled to Tallahassee this week included Frank Ortis, Brannan Thomas, Cornelius Fowler, Joaquin Almazan, Roger Schultz, Mike Phillips, Caroline Villanueva, Librado Lopez, Eddie Garcia, Jose Medina, and Terry Crawford.
The members met with Florida Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, Sen. Lori Berman, Sen. Geraldine Thompson, Sen. Jason Pizzo, Sen. Traci Davis, Rep. Christopher Benjamin, Rep. Lindsay Cross, Rep. Marie Woodson, Rep. Ashley Gantt, Rep. Joanna Lopez, Rep. Hillary Cassel, Rep. Dotie Joseph, Rep. Kim Daniels, Rep. David Silvers, Rep. Joe Casello, Rep. Anna Eskamani, Rep. Daryl Campbell, Rep. Bruce Antone, Rep. Toby Overdorf, Rep. LaVon Bracy Davis, Rep. Kevin Chambliss, Rep. Dan Daley, and Rep. Robin Bartleman.