The Mackinac Center’s Workers for Opportunity initiative is proud to champion labor reform efforts across the country. Florida is the most recent state to codify our proposed reforms into law. Thanks to legislation signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on May 9, teachers and other public workers in Florida will now have more control over their hard-earned paychecks.
In a March 18 op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel, Lindsay Killen, senior national advisor for Workers for Opportunity, and Florida State Rep. Spencer Roach, wrote about the positive impacts the changes implemented by the bill would have:
For years, dues have been deducted directly from teachers’ paychecks. Unions prefer this method because it benefits them. It’s easy for teachers to forget they’re paying dues every month, much less stop to consider the value they get for their money. And the collection and processing are done on the taxpayers’ dime rather than at the union’s expense. No more, DeSantis says.
In another prominent change, unions will now have greater motivation to represent the interest of their members. As F. Vincent Vernuccio, senior policy adviser at Workers for Opportunity, wrote in a May 5 National Review article:
Whenever a union falls below 60 percent of membership in a collective-bargaining unit, public employees will have the right to an election. They can vote to keep the union at their workplace, replace it with a different union, or remove union presence altogether. A Florida-senate bill analysis found that at least 40 local teachers’ unions in Florida were below the 60 percent threshold, and a 2012 Heritage study showed that a mere 1 percent of teachers in Florida’s largest schools actually voted for their unions, meaning current workers may be ready to revisit previous generations’ decisions.
Florida’s bill sets a new standard for states that wish to expand labor freedom. In a May 5 piece in Real Clear Policy, Killen wrote:
Florida’s “Cadillac” legislation sets a high standard of excellence for the protection of public employees’ rights, but taken collectively, these latest state efforts are creating tremendous momentum for expanding transparency and accountability around government union activity in the year to come.
Public employees deserve to be informed of their First Amendment rights and shouldn’t be compelled to financially supporting an organization that doesn’t benefit their interests. It’s time for more states to follow Florida’s lead.
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