Can Florida Legislature resist union payroll deduction?

In a blog post, the St. Pete Times/Miami Herald's Mary Ellen Klas reports Reprepresentative Matt Gaetz, has filed amendments to the House version of a bill sponsored by Hillsborough/Pasco state Senator Jim Norman - even though Norman is against the provision that would hurt unions.


The legislation that has been sponsored by state Senator John Thrasher (SB 830) did not get discussed earlier this week as anticipated in the Senate. Thrasher's rationale for the bill in the first place is that "We need to get state and local governments out of the business of being involved in political purposes."


But to take Thrasher at his word that that is his intention (vs. union busting) blows up when, as PolitiFact reported last month, The state of Florida currently has 364 groups or agencies that have the ability to take money directly from employees' paychecks.


Earlier this week another Republican opponent of the bill, Lakeland state Senator Paula Dockery, told CL that if SB 830 had been proposed as a way of taking government out of taking things out of all paychecks, "Then it would be a legitimate issue." But she said "if you're going to say we're going to allow everything other than this one, it's a matter of fairness, and that's where that bill got into trouble."


She said that as of 48 hours ago, there were 26 solid votes in the Senate against the measure (out of 40 members), which if that plays out, would be a loss not only for Thrasher and others in the Legislature who are advocating for it, but also for Governor Rick Scott, who reportedly made personal visits to several GOP Senators the other day, lobbying them to support the measure.

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Late Tuesday night the Democratic-controlled House in Massachusetts passed a bill limiting collective bargaining rights on health care for municipal employees. Although not as far ranging as Wisconsin's now notorious law which outright eliminated collective bargaining for most public workers, the bill has angered labor officials in the Bay State.

The bill does however strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns. Although Governor Deval Patrick insists the bill is not like Wisconsin's, labor disagrees.

“It’s very much like Wisconsin,” said Ron Patenaude, president of United Auto Workers Local 2322. “They’re saying you can have a voice, but not a vote. That’s not collective bargaining. I am totally appalled by the Democratic state legislature

Meanwhile, the issue of banning unions from using payroll deduction to collect their dues in Florida isn't quite dead, yet with just a week before the Legislature ends its regular session.

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