MIDLAND, Mich. — Florida public employees have more control over their paychecks thanks to legislation signed today by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s national Workers for Opportunity initiative has been a driving force behind key components of the paycheck protection legislation, which was passed by the Florida Legislature in April. DeSantis called paycheck protection a priority during his recent trip to Michigan, which included a visit to the Mackinac Center’s headquarters.
The legislation ends the process of government entities withholding dues through public payrolls, allows workers to end their union membership at any time, gives employees information about their union rights, and ensures that a majority of workers regularly support the labor unions representing them. This will protect more than 200,000 public sector workers across Florida.
“We were proud to work with the DeSantis administration, Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, Rep. Dean Black and other lawmakers on this years-long effort to protect workers’ rights,” said Lindsay Killen, senior national advisor for the Workers for Opportunity initiative. “This ensures that workers know their rights and can exercise them. And just like other private entities, unions now have to collect their own dues.”
The law states that a membership authorization form must inform employees of their right to join or not join a union. The form has new information that boosts transparency efforts by including the amount of any initiation fee, monthly dues and the compensation for the five highest-paid union officers. Additionally, unions must annually report audited financial statements and provide them to their members.
The new law also requires a union to win the support of 60% of the employees it represents. If it falls below this level of support, the union must be recertified in order to continue serving as the exclusive bargaining representative. Members of the bargaining unit can then vote to keep the union, replace it or have no union at all.
Reforms like these put an end to coercive tactics and ensure that workers can make a well-informed choice about whether they want to become part of a union. The 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME made it clear that more could be done to protect the rights of workers. In 2019, Workers for Opportunity, alongside the James Madison Institute, began working with the new DeSantis administration and lawmakers in Florida on the necessity for workers to provide consent before having dues taken from their paychecks. These ideas grew into the robust reforms that were passed today.
Read the full Florida Senate Bill 256 here.
Learn more about the legislation here.
The Mackinac Center’s national labor initiative Workers for Opportunity was invited to the bill signing alongside other allies.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonprofit research and educational institute that advances the principles of free markets and limited government. Through our research and education programs, we challenge government overreach and advocate for a free-market approach to public policy that frees people to realize their potential and dreams.
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