Features, Labor News Briefs, Law and Politics, National

Florida Teachers Fear Pending Bill Could Wipe Out Their Union

January 6, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.—In the session that opens Jan. 9, the Florida legislature will take up a bill that public-sector unions fear

Rep. Scott Plakon of Florida has it in for organized labor.

could wipe them out. House Bill 25, sponsored by state Rep. Scott Plakon (R-Longwood), would automatically decertify any public-employee union, depriving them of the power to bargain, if its dues-paying membership falls below 50% of the workers it represents. To re-establish themselves, they would have to win a whole new organizing campaign. Many of the state’s unions are vulnerable: Less than 10% of the state workers represented by AFSCME and the Florida Nurses Association are members. About 45% of Miami’s 30,000 public-school teachers are dues-paying members of the United Teachers of Dade, and in the St. Augustine area, about 49% of St. Johns County’s 2,500 teachers are members of the St. Johns Education Association. The bill exempts unions representing first responders. With teachers and other civilian public-sector workers predominantly female, United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez-Mats told In These Times, HB25 “targets women-dominated industries by seeking to eradicate their labor rights.” A similar measure passed the state House last year, but went nowhere in the Senate. This year, its chances are considered better, as Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) has introduced a companion bill.

Read more: http://staugustine.com/local-news/news/2018-01-03/house-bill-could-potentially-dissolve-st-johns-teachers-union

January 6, 2018

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