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Anti-Union Bill Moving Through Legislature

TALLAHASSEE – SB 256 passed the Florida Senate last week and is moving forward in the House. If passed into law, the bill would place new restrictions on public-employee unions, including preventing dues from being deducted from workers' paychecks.

Republicans have pushed a number of similar bills in recent sessions, amid opposition from Democrats and union organizations. The House version (HB 1445) needs approval from the state affairs committee before going to a floor vote.

The bills would affect a number of public employee unions, including teachers. However, unions representing law-enforcement officers, correctional officers, and firefighters would be exempt. By preventing automatic deductions of union dues, the bill would force union members to make separate payments, which would be less convenient and have historically hurt enrollment levels.

The bill passed the Senate largely along party lines, although Sen. Jennifer Bradley, R-Fleming Island, Sen. Ileana Garcia, R-Miami, Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, Sen. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, and Sen. Corey Simon, R-Tallahassee, joined Democrats in opposing the bill. Manatee Senator Jim Boyd voted in favor.

"The hard-working, dedicated public service workers who make Florida happen will continue to advocate for our freedom on the job, for our right to safe working conditions, and the respect and dignity that accompanies the power of collective bargaining," said AFSCME Florida Council 79 President and International Vice President Vicki Hall in a statement. "It is AFSCME members and other hard-working men and women who care for our sick, protect our vulnerable communities, keep our streets clean, our water safe to drink and so much more. We deserve the same rights as others to collectively speak up for a safe place to work, decent pay, and fair benefits."


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