By Reagan Reese
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law on Tuesday that bans automatic payroll deductions for teachers union dues.
Under the “Employee Organizations Representing Public Employees” law, public-employee unions are no longer allowed to automatically deduct dues from paychecks and must annually notify members of union costs. The bill, signed into law by DeSantis Tuesday, passed the state Senate in March, 23-17, and the state House in a 72-44 vote. (RELATED: DeSantis Admin Approves Rule Curbing Lessons On Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation For All K-12 Students)
“You have this situation with school unions, you have a right to not do it,” DeSantis said in a press conference ahead of signing the bill. “But what they do is they provide authorization forms, blanket authorizations for automatic deduction of dues. So even though a lot of teachers don’t do it, many teachers feel pressure to do it and so what this bill does, it protects them. It says no automatic deductions for school union dues. If you want to join you can, but you can write a check and you hand it over. That is going to lead to more take home pay for teachers because they are not going to have as many deductions in their paychecks.”
Unions will not be allowed to pass out membership materials within the workplace and union officials are not allowed to do their membership duties during the hours of their full-time job, the law states. Union members also must sign a membership authorization form which makes it clear that Florida is a right-to-work state.
No union official can make more than the highest-paid member, the law states. Within the legislation, DeSantis also approved an additional $1 billion to the state budget on Tuesday in order to give teachers a raise in the 2023-2024 school year.
“While Gov. DeSantis seeks to punish and divide, we seek to unite,” Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association, told Fox 30 when DeSantis first introduced the bill. “We respect the voices of parents, teachers, school boards, administrators and students. All have a crucial role in providing our students with the best possible education, and students’ needs must be our focus. Our schools don’t need to go back to 1950; we need to move forward toward 2050. Florida’s students deserve strong public schools.”
In addition to approving a record $1 billion for teacher salaries, the legislation I signed:
– Protects teacher paychecks from automatic union deductions
– Creates a Teachers’ Bill of Rights
– Reforms school board elections
– Removes social media from classrooms pic.twitter.com/tswnsNI1Ei
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 9, 2023
Teachers unions throughout the country are pushing gender identity and race lessons into the classroom; in Pennsylvania, a school district announced its partnership with the nation’s largest teachers union to launch an LGBTQ initiative and give teachers “ally” badges that provide resources to gay students. A Pennsylvania teachers union held a spring conference that featured a course for educators on how to combat “attacks” from a parental rights group.
“It is also something that is going to allow the state to look at how many people are joining and if you don’t have a sufficient number joining then that should not be a bargaining union if you don’t even represent the majority of people and they have changed that threshold to make sure that is the case,” DeSantis said Tuesday. “I think this is going to be something that is really, really significant.”
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