Lee County deputies vote to unionize
Sheriff Scott says he supports their decision
Employees voted against forming a union once before a couple years back..but this time, the vote came up in favor of organizing...union reps for the international union of police say this will give workers a stronger voice at the bargaing table. Video by fox4now.comvideo
The newest union in Southwest Florida will be in the Lee County Sheriff's Office.
That's the word after hundreds of deputies cast ballots to form their own union. So what does this mean for you and Sheriff Mike Scott who campaigned against unions?
Four In Your Corner's Colleen Hogan is getting reaction Friday from both sides.
Employees voted against forming a union once before a couple years back but this time, the vote came up in favor of organizing. Union reps for the International Union of Police say this will give workers a stronger voice at the bargaining table.
"A majority rules and a majority here feels like a union is in their favor and I wish them well," Sheriff Mike Scott said.
Scott had campaigned against a union. So how will this all work?
"What are the challenges moving forward for you as the sheriff working with the union?" Hogan asked Scott.
"There's really no challenge," Scott said. "I don't work directly with the union."
Scott says staff from his office will work with the union to hammer out decisions. Any conflicts will be settled by county commissioners.
"How about for the citizens of Lee County. Can they expect any changes?" Hogan asked Scott.
"Well the citizens are paying the freight," he said.
Deputies have already been dealing with budget-cuts for years. The men and women in green haven't seen a pay raise in three years.
"It's a tough, tough time right now and I think our people are worth more," Scott said, addressing the salaries. "I know there are and I'd like to see them compensated more. It's just not the world we're living in right now."
So was that the motivation to unionize?
"The reason any law enforcement officer seeks to join a union is to provide them with some extra protection that they often need on the job," union rep Rich Roberts said.
"What will be your priorities?" Hogan asked Roberts.
"The priorities will be, one, the protection of the officer's rights and the protection of the officer's jobs," he said.
More priorities for the union: better working conditions, salaries and benefits.
The union spokesperson says, deputies will come up with a charter and elect officers.