Lawsuit is dismissed over Florida’s controversial 2023 law restricting public employee unions

Labor unions
Labor unions. Via nebari / iStock for WMNF News

©2024 The News Service of Florida

After police and firefighter unions said they were dropping the case, the 1st District Court of Appeal on Tuesday dismissed an appeal stemming from a controversial 2023 law that placed additional restrictions on many public employee unions.

The Florida Police Benevolent Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Teamsters and the Florida Professional Firefighters filed notices last month that said they were dropping the case.

While the notices did not detail reasons, the filings came after lawmakers passed a measure this year that made revisions to the 2023 law. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the measure March 22.

The 2023 law included restrictions such as preventing union dues from being deducted from public workers’ paychecks.

But it exempted unions representing law-enforcement officers, correctional officers and firefighters from the restrictions.

The public safety unions, however, challenged rules that the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission developed to carry out the law.

They said the rules would improperly apply the restrictions to bargaining units with civilian workers — such as dispatchers and 911 operators — represented by the law enforcement and firefighter unions.

This year’s bill (SB 1746) included a series of changes that said the exemptions would apply to bargaining units “the majority of whose employees eligible for representation are employed” as law-enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, 911 workers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics.

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