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Lee County Deputies Form New Union

Deputies of the Lee County Sheriff’s Department agreed by a vote of 194 to 124 to form a new union affiliating with the Sarasota based International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO (I.U.P.A.). The new union that will represent corporals and deputies comes into play only months after the formation of the Sergeants’ union, also under the I.U.P.A. banner.

In mid-June of this year, Sheriff Scott filed a motion with Florida’s Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC) for an on-site election requiring deputies to report to polling places in order to vote. The I.U.P.A. objected to Scott’s motion by filing a counter motion calling for an election by mail-in ballots. I.U.P.A. contended that, considering the widespread geography of the patrol areas, polling places would be inconvenient for too many deputies and would reduce their opportunity to vote. PERC unanimously ruled in favor of the I.U.P.A. based on their criteria that included accessibility to voters, economic impact, reliability, and the potential disruptive effect in the workplace.

Commenting on the new union Sam A. Cabral, International President of the I.U.P.A. said, “I am pleased with the deputies’ response. They clearly realize that they need the added protection collective bargaining brings to their wages, benefits, and work conditions. By holding meaningful discussions with their commanders they can improve the efficiency of the department and ensure effective protection for the citizens of Lee County. We look forward to that dialogue.”

The new union will be issued a charter from the I.U.P.A. and elect officers shortly. In addition to being able to engage in collective bargaining, union benefits include: training in negotiating contracts, legal representation and access to financial savings through the numerous programs in the I.U.P.A’s AFL-CIO’s Union Privilege Program.

About the International Union of Police Associations
Originally chartered in 1979, the International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO is the only AFL-CIO chartered labor union that exclusively represents law enforcement personnel. The more than 100,000 law enforcement personnel (one out of every four eligible) represented by the I.U.P.A. are all full time employees of law enforcement agencies ranging from line officers up to first line supervisors as well as civilian employees. The I.U.P.A.’s mission is to protect and advance officers’ wages, benefits and work conditions. Membership includes officers from agencies throughout the United States and in the Caribbean. More information is available at www.iupa.org.

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