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Tue Jul 3, 2018, 11:59 PM

Florida teachers sue state over anti-union law

The law targets teachers over other professions for changes in union certification.

CASEY QUINLAN JUL 3, 2018, 11:24 AM

Florida teachers are challenging a state union-busting bill that passed in March and officially went into effect on Sunday. On Monday, local teacher organizations, individual teachers, and the Florida Education Association sued the state over the law.

The measure, which was part of an omnibus education bill, HB 7055, says that unions would be decertified if they can’t reach at least 50 percent of the instructional personnel employees eligible for representation. That means they won’t have collective bargaining power to negotiate for things like higher wages and other conditions of employment.

Florida is a right-to-work state, meaning employees aren’t required to pay union dues or be a union member. Lawmakers who voted for this measure likely knew that by requiring 50 percent of teachers to pay dues or have their unions face decertification, they would significantly undermine teachers unions. Employees who “free ride” or benefit from the union services without paying dues are held against the union.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in Leon County Civil Court and names defendants as the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission, teachers say they have been unfairly targeted.

‘We’re not feeling defeated. We’re feeling angry and we’re ready to do something about it. We’re tired of being the target of legislators,” Melissa Rudd, Wakulla teacher organization president, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, told the Tampa Bay Times.


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