Tampa, FL – Almost 200 trade unionists and supporters signed an open letter to the University of South Florida demanding AFSCME member Chrisley Carpio keep her job. Carpio is one of the protesters the USF Police Department brutalized at a Students for a Democratic Society protest for diversity on March 6. She is one of four protesters arrested and facing felony charges for battery on a law enforcement officer. Carpio was placed on administrative leave on March 7.
USF human resources emailed Chrisley Carpio on Wednesday, March 22 with a notice of a Monday, March 27 hearing on a request for her termination. Carpio hadn’t had any charges filed against her when the email was sent. USF also initially denied Carpio’s request for union representation during this meeting, a violation of her Weingarten rights under federal law.
By the date of the request for termination hearing, 180 people had signed the letter of support for Carpio. Dozens of people joined USF Students for a Democratic Society’s call-in campaign to USF human resources in support of Carpio. USF moved the request for termination hearing to Thursday March 30, to allow Carpio’s union representation to attend.
A spokesperson for AFSCME, Nat Bender, gave a statement to the Tampa Bay Times in support of Carpio’s right to free speech and the protection of her job during the investigation.
“What USF is doing is not only unfair, it’s criminal. Instead of defending education, multicultural programs, and Black studies and women’s studies from DeSantis’ attacks, they’re trying to fire a worker who dared to stand with students. They need to fire the police chief and [USF President] Rhea Law. They need to take a stand against these attacks. They need to drop the charges. And they need to give me my job back,” said Carpio, a member of AFSCME Local 3342 and Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society.
If USF fires Chrisley Carpio, AFSCME Local 3342 will fight for her job. The signatures to the letter of support show students and trade unionists alike agree protesting is not a crime and workers should not be fired for supporting diversity on campus.