Public Employees Up in Arms

By: Mike Vasilinda
By: Mike Vasilinda

Tallahassee, FL - Governor Rick Scott wants state employees to pay 5% of their salaries toward pensions, and he wants them to get only limited payments for health insurance. “If you are taxpayers in this state, you know, you likely don’t have a pension plan. If you even have a 401k your employer may not contribute”, says Scott.

30 Palm Beach County firemen, including Fred Angelo, were in Tallahassee getting the lay of the land “Every every worker should be concerned about their pensions”, say Angelo.

Others have been giving the governor an earful. Doug Martin is the negotiator for AFSCME, which represents state employees and others. He says “some of the proposals that are out there could get people pretty riled up, particularly on retirement and health benefits.”

But Florida is not likely to be Wisconsin. Just before the turn of the 20th century, a group of Florida lawmakers, like those in Wisconsin, went across the state line to keep the Senate from having a quorum, but that couldn’t happen today.

The reason: Republicans are in such total control, they don’t need a single Democrat vote to do anything they long as they all stick together.

Senator John Thrasher has upped the anger level by introducing legislation to keep the state from payroll deducting union dues.“Government should not be using their resources to collect union dues. Simple as that,” says the Jacksonville Senator.

Florida Education Association President Andy Ford says Thrashers bill is nothing more than payback. The union beat back attempts at Merit Pay sponsored by Thrasher in 2010. “In our mind once the election is over, it’s over and you need to work together and try to bring everybody back together”, says Ford.

While other states are at the boiling point, Florida’s public employees are just starting to plan demonstrations.

State lawmakers worked on reforming local pension plans today. The state pension plan is on the agenda Thursday afternoon.

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