Florida House moves forward with controversial 'union-busting bill'

Rep. Anthony Rodriguez, R-Miami, crossed party lines to oppose the bill.

Photo via Florida House of Representatives
A House panel began moving forward Thursday with a controversial proposal that would make changes for public-employee unions, including preventing workers from having dues deducted from their paychecks.

The Republican-controlled House Government Operations Subcommittee voted 10-7 along almost straight party lines to approve the measure, sponsored by Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, and Rep. Cord Byrd, R-Neptune Beach.

Rep. Anthony Rodriguez, R-Miami, crossed party lines to oppose the bill.

The proposal, in part, would bar payroll deductions for dues and require union members to pay dues directly to their unions.

That change and others in the bill would affect members of unions representing teachers and a variety of other government workers — but not unions representing law-enforcement officers, correctional officers, correctional probation officers and firefighters.

“At the heart of this is the constitutional right of employees,” Plakon said. “So in essence, this empowers employees to have the best information and have the most choices and to do so in a freewill environment.”

But dozens of union members turned out to fight the proposal, which some critics said was politically motivated because many unions support Democrats.

“It’s a union-busting bill,” Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, said.
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