UNITE HERE Local 355, south Florida’s hospitality workers union, is pleased to announce that well over 800 new Marlins Park food service workers have chosen to unionize. Employed through Levy Restaurants, the designated concessions operators, the workers are excited to be union members and are eager to start negotiations.
Jamail Taylor, a food runner at the stadium is one of those workers. “I grew up here. I’ve worked hard and have worked in a stadium before. This time around, we all decided we needed to do more. We have to stick together to make sure we have access to fair wages, job security and that we’re treated with respect.”
Wendi Walsh, the President of UNITEHERE Local 355 agreed. “We’re entering a new era in Florida employment. Business and community must stop referring to Florida as a haven for low-wage jobs. Better stadium jobs improve the economy on all levels. Congratulations to all the Marlins food service workers who organized themselves and joined the struggle for all workers in South Florida,” she said.
Marlins workers will soon negotiate their contract with the hospitality operator. “Levy signed an agreement saying they will not disrupt the organizing efforts of their workers. They held true to their commitment,” said Andy Madtes, President of the South Florida AFL-CIO and Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 355. He added, “We are hopeful that their good faith efforts will extend to negotiations. Equally important, today’s victory sends a message to all employers – particularly those in hospitality to stay true to their agreements with workers and the community. Marlins workers see the connection between their jobs and the jobs of their fellow workers in hotels, airports and casinos.
“When we organized, my co-workers and I talked about real issues: unemployment, education, housing, civil rights and good jobs, all principles in the Florida Freedom Charter. This is more than just good jobs for me and my co-workers. This is about a plan to address the real challenges and struggles we all go through. Go Marlins, go South Florida!” said Lamont Byrd, a stand lead at the new stadium.
With the addition of Marlins Stadium, UNITE HERE Local 355 now represents over 5,400 casino, hotel, airport concessions and food service workers in South Florida.