Public unions at odds with Florida lawmakers

Published: Dec. 5, 2017 at 7:23 PM EST
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By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service

December 5, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- Public employees could see their unions put out of business if they don’t maintain at least a 50 percent membership. Unions say the idea has more to do with politics than good government.

It is unions, more often than not, that bring hundreds of people to the State Capitol to rally against what they consider bad public policy.

And it's Democrats, more often than not, who get union endorsements.

Now, a GOP sponsored bill would require at least half of the people working in a unit represented by a union actually be union members.

Rep. Scott Plakon of Altamonte Springs stated, “One person could claim to represent ten thousand, and again, I don’t think that’s right.”

Tallulah Thomas, a Behavioral Specialist for the Florida State Hospital claimed, “We do not do this job to become rich or famous. We do this because we believe in the work.”

Not included in the 50 percent membership requirement are public safety agencies. Public safety unions are more likely to be bipartisan in their political endorsements.

Florida Education Association President JoAnn McCall pulled no punches when we asked if the bill was union busting.

McCall said, “This is definitely political. This is about silencing a voice. We have been politically active. We speak up. We speak out.”

Its sponsor, though, says it’s just good public policy.

When Plakon was asked if his intent was to “bust unions”, he responded, “You know they said that on the House floor last year. And again, this is about transparency, democracy, and accountability.”

The legislation is expected to clear the House early in the legislative session. Its future in the Senate is uncertain.