Posts tagged Florida Education Association
Florida’s largest teachers union may face decertification under new state law
December 4, 2023 // AFFT reported that at least 42 Florida teachers unions are below the threshold and could face recertification votes for the first time, including UTD. As of last week, only 58.4% of Miami-Dade teachers are members of the union. “Last year we were at 51%, and last week we were at 58.4% in the third largest school district in the United States,” said union president Karla Hernandez-Mats. “People want to have their rights, people want to have wages, benefits, and a union that fights for them. And unfortunately, we’re seeing anti-worker legislation.” Most union members have never voted for a union to represent them. That’s because once unions are certified, they remain the exclusive representative unless challenged with a decertification vote. For the majority of public unions, that original certification happened decades ago.
FLORIDA: Graduate student union could lose recognition under new law
September 12, 2023 // If a union doesn’t meet the membership requirements, its employer is no longer obligated to legally recognize and honor union contracts, according to the bill. Failure to meet the quota triggers an application process for the union. It is unclear whether the union is able to collectively bargain while in the application stage. GAU and its parent unions: United Faculty of Florida, Florida Education Association, National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers also have negotiated thousands of discounts for members, ranging from local restaurants to phone and insurance plans.
As Florida’s new union law goes into effect, it’s ‘do or die’ time for labor
July 10, 2023 // In the face of the double-whammy law — creating a new process for paying dues while simultaneously requiring more people to pay dues — public labor unions are launching all-out campaigns to get their numbers up. “Are we at 60%? No. I can't give you a definitive number,” said Se’Adoria “Cee Cee” Brown, the president of AFSCME Local 199. “However, I can say that there has been a push and we've signed up 700 new members since we started this whole campaign, and when folks realized, ‘Hey, this is real.’” The Local 199 chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union represents about 7,500 employees of Miami-Dade County: transit officials, animal services, staff at the Medical Examiner’s Office, administrative clerks in the court system.
Federal judge refuses to block law currently restricting Florida unions
June 28, 2023 // A federal judge Monday refused to block key parts of a new Florida law that places additional restrictions on public-employee unions, turning down a request from teachers unions that argue the law violates First Amendment and contract rights. Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker declined to issue a preliminary injunction, ruling that the Florida Education Association and other unions had not shown they had legal standing. The 12-page ruling came after Walker held a more than three-hour hearing Friday. The unions sought the injunction against parts of the law that require union members to fill out new government-worded membership forms and prevent union dues from being deducted from workers’ paychecks.
Florida: State officials sued by education unions over SB 256
May 22, 2023 // SB 256 outlaws requiring the state to deduct union dues, restricts the freedom of educators and other working people to join unions, forces local unions to undergo monitoring, and requires that an arbitrary 60% supermajority of eligible employees pay dues in order for a union to exist. “Dues will no longer be deducted from their paycheck along with Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and taxes,” Brown told the Florida Record. “Union dues don't belong on there anyway. The state should not be collecting money on behalf of private organizations anymore. Unions can just call their members and get their credit card information, their bank account and have it set up as a direct payment that way if they would like to.” Defendants include Donald J. Rubottom, chair of the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission, Jeff Aaron, commissioner of the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission, and Michael Sasso, commissioner of the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission.
Teacher Unions in Tampa Bay Engage in Active Recruitment as Their Role is Put at Risk by New Law
May 22, 2023 // Two primary employee unions in Pinellas County school district have launched a new payment system incentivizing members to sign up with a chance to win a $100 gift card. The unions are concerned about reaching members before they leave for summer break, as they need to sign up at least 60% of eligible workers to join and pay in time to avoid decertification. This could leave thousands of employees without a contract or an authorized agent to negotiate a new one.
Florida teachers union sues over DeSantis’ new union restrictions
May 17, 2023 // Under the new law, union dues will no longer be automatically deducted from paychecks. Those wishing to be a part of the union need to mail in a separate check to pay their monthly dues. Unions can also be decertified if less than 60% of eligible employees are members.
Union rally in Florida shows disconnect with teachers
April 24, 2023 // The rallying cry for rally organizers and attendees, “You’re Not Fooling Us Ron!” was a direct barb at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The event flyer listed several of the union’s concerns for teachers, such as “struggling to keep politics out of classrooms,” “struggling to keep our kids and ourselves safe at school” because state lawmakers are “more concerned about banning books,” and “struggling to educate our kids with massive class sizes, burdensome state testing, and big government overreach” due to state lawmakers’ focus “on taking our unionized voice away.” The flyer also included social media hashtag #NotFoolingUs.
FEA: Where Do Your Union Dues Go? A LOOK AT Florida Education Association SPENDING 2019 – 2021
March 20, 2023 // Spending on political activities and lobbying remained relatively steady over the past three years. In 2021, the union spent $5.3 million on political activities and lobbying. About $800,000 of this went to employees and officers as compensation for their political activity and lobbying efforts. Other expenditures went to public affairs advertising ($2.7 million), the union’s “Fund Our Future” project ($672,715), and to outside firms for lobbying ($119,993) including $50,000 to Florida Pastors for Children for state legislative issue advocacy. The union also gave $567,000 to the FEA Advocacy Fund, the FEA’s political arm.
Florida Republicans introduce bills prohibiting paycheck deductions for public-sector union dues
March 14, 2023 // Vincent Vernuccio, a representative for the Mackinac Center’s Workers for Opportunity initiative, said, “[SB 256] is about transparency, accountability, good bookkeeping, and democracy. … This bill is about the rights of public employees: making sure they’re informed and they can exercise them.” Freedom Foundation representative Rusty Brown said, “There’s nothing in this bill that curtails organizing or collective bargaining for wages, benefits, or working conditions, which is what a union should be doing. And when you have a union whose membership is half [the people they represent] … then that could be indicative of a problem. … [This bill] gives the employees represented by the union the opportunity to vote … if they would like to continue allowing that union to represent them.”