Florida legislature advances bill targeting select public sector unions, including university faculty  

Photo via FIU Flickr.

Diego Diaz | Asst. News Director 

The Republican party of Florida has drawn the ire of unions thanks to a proposed bill targeting what Gov. Ron DeSantis calls the allegedly oppressive nature of public sector unions. It comes as yet another materialization of Gov. DeSantis’s education proposals were originally introduced in January.

Senate Bill 256, also known as the Employee Organization Representing Public Unions bill, would enact drastic changes to the certification and maintenance of unions. Of note, requiring 60 percent of eligible members to be due paying, or risk decertification. 

“This means all of the hard fought rights faculty have won over the years could be lost,” tweeted United Faculty of Florida-FIU.

Currently, UFF-FIU requires 75 more due paying members in order to reach the 60 percent eligible member minimum.

If decertified, UFF-FIU employment contract would be null, including faculty academic freedom protection, paid parental leave, salary agreements and grievance representation. 

Equally alarming to union members are the changes to union dues, as organizations would be prohibited from directly collecting dues through employee payrolls. Union members during the Mar 7 committee meeting argued this would create a “logistical nightmare,” and may risk sapping resources from other union activities. 

The bill also defines unions exempt from the proposed changes, namely, unions representing firefighters, law enforcement, correction and probation officers. Law enforcement related unions composed the bulk of Republican union support in Florida, with the statewide Fraternal Order of Police supporting DeSantis in both gubernatorial races.   

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