Florida teachers’ unions vow to fight new bill imposing new restrictions and requirements on them
A new bill aimed at cracking down on teachers’ unions was filed by a local state lawmaker Friday.
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Among the two biggest changes in the bill is a prohibition on teachers’ unions automatically deducting dues from teachers’ paychecks.
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Bill sponsor State Representative Dean Black (R-Yulee) argues the measure would protect teachers’ paychecks.
“Teachers should not be forced to join a union that they don’t believe in. They should have a real choice and this bill, this legislation is going to give them that choice,” Black said.
But Andrew Spar, President of the state’s largest teachers’ union, argued teachers already have the ability to join or leave their unions at any time.
“People do not have to belong to the union. If they were compelled to join the union we would have 100 percent membership and we don’t in the State of Florida. I don’t think any union does,” Spar said.
The bill would also raise the membership threshold teachers’ unions must maintain from the current 50 percent, up to 60 percent.
If they fall below 60 percent membership, they could be dissolved.
“If you’re not getting that kind of support, there is a strong argument to be made that a different collective bargaining agent ought to be found. Someone that people genuinely support,” Black said.
Spar noted lawmakers just set the 50 percent membership requirement in 2018.
He sees the new bill as a continuation of the Governor’s effort to shut down the unions entirely.
“When we hit 60, he’ll raise it at 70. When we hit 70, he’ll set it at 80. His goal is to make sure that teachers and staff in the State of Florida do not have a voice,” Spar said.
The bill applies to not just teachers’ unions, but all public sector unions like those representing college and university faculty and state employees.
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Law enforcement and firefighters’ unions are notably carved out.
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