Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on May 9 signed legislation to prohibit automatic payroll deductions for dues and place other restrictions on public employee unions. The new law, which takes effect on July 1, also requires unions to pay for annual financial audits and to maintain a membership of at least 60% of eligible employees or risk decertification (up from 50% adopted in a 2018 law).
Labor unions representing educators and municipal workers promptly filed two separate lawsuits challenging its constitutionality.
The Florida Education Association and three affiliates filed a federal lawsuit alleging the law violates educators’ First Amendment rights, 14th Amendment equal protection rights and their collective bargaining rights, which are enshrined in the state constitution. Unions representing South Florida employees filed their lawsuit in state court.
The Florida Education Association believes DeSantis has targeted teachers’ unions for pandemic-related disagreements on reopening schools and mask mandates, as well as for speaking out against the 2022 “don’t say gay” law.
Police and firefighters’ unions are exempt from the anti-union provisions.Orlando Weekly, May 12