Police union appeals a judge’s ruling on Florida’s law restricting public employee unions

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Labor unions. Via nebari / iStock for WMNF News

The Florida Police Benevolent Association on Thursday launched an appeal after an administrative law judge last week upheld the way the state is carrying out a new law that placed additional restrictions on unions representing government employees.

The PBA filed a notice that is a first step in asking the 1st District Court of Appeal to take up the case.

Judge Robert Cohen on Friday issued a 33-page order dismissing the case, which was filed in July by the PBA and later joined by the Florida Professional Firefighters, the Teamsters and the Fraternal Order of Police.

The controversial law, approved this spring by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican-controlled Legislature, includes 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 made up of civilian workers — such as dispatchers and 911 operators — represented by the law enforcement and firefighter unions. The challenge contended the exemptions from the restrictions were intended to apply to all workers represented by public safety unions — not just law-enforcement officers, correctional officers and firefighters.

But Cohen backed the Public Employees Relations Commission, saying it did not overstep its legal authority and that the rules were not “arbitrary or capricious.”

©2023 The News Service of Florida

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