Florida Senators back public union changes

Florida House of Representatives

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Amid fierce opposition from labor organizations, a Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill that would make a series of changes targeting public-employee unions, including preventing workers from having union dues deducted from their paychecks.

The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee backed the bill (SB 256), sponsored by Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill.

The bill would affect teachers’ unions and other public-employee unions but would exempt law enforcement and firefighter unions.

The dues issue, for example, would require union members to make separate payments rather than having dues come out of their paychecks. That would make dues-paying less convenient.

Sen. Tracie Davis, D-Jacksonville, questioned what problem the bill was trying to solve.

“It’s offensive because it feels like an attack,” Davis said. “It feels like an attack for no reason.” But Ingoglia said the bill does not take away the right to join unions or to collectively bargain. “You still have a right to be in a union,” he said. “We are not taking that right away.”

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