Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state’s legislature are considering a “paycheck protection” bill which would prevent school districts from withholding dues from employees on behalf of unions. Unions, like almost every other private association, would have to get their dues or fees from workers directly.
This comes after a 2018 bill which requires unions to have 50% of their members paying dues or risk being decertified. Unions opposed the 2018 bill as well as the newly proposed bill.
Despite their opposition, unions claimed recently that the bill requiring most people to be members was a “boon” for their membership. According to the Orlando Sentinel:
Membership in [the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association] has climbed since the law’s passage from about 46 percent to nearly 55 percent, [union president Wendy Doromal] said.
Teachers unions in Lake, Osceola and Seminole counties also say more teachers have joined, and they, too, are now above the required threshold.
“In actuality, the bill helped us,” said Sue Carson, president of the Seminole Education Association, where membership has climbed from 48 percent to 52 percent of teachers.
Statewide, 13 local unions have membership below 50 percent, but overall most have seen more teachers join since the law passed, said Joanne McCall, president of the statewide union.
A recent article in “The Capitolist” pointed to this, but also noted, “It’s not clear where union membership currently stands.”
Teacher union membership currently stands at significantly below where it was when the law went into effect. According to the federal LM-2 forms filed by the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest education union has gone from 140,027 members in 2018 down to 134,838 in 2022. There was an uptick in membership in 2019 when the law went into effect, up to 143,960, but membership has dropped significantly since then.
In other words, Florida’s largest teachers union is down more than 9,000 members since 2019, or 6.3%.
The labor reforms Florida is pursuing are good for teachers and other workers. Nobody should be forced to be represented by a political organization they oppose — so the Workplace Democracy Act, requiring unions to be recertified regularly, makes sense. And taxpayers should not be funding the withholding of money for political organizations — so Paycheck Protection to put an end to that is sound policy.
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