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House OK’s barring union deductions

by John Kennedy | March 25th, 2011

Following the latest firefight between Democrats and Republicans, the GOP-dominated House OK’d legislation Friday that would bar state and local governments from collecting payroll deductions for union dues.

Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, in line to become House speaker in three years, if Republicans hold the majority, sponsored the measure (CS/HB 1021), which he said would keep the state out of “partisan politics.”

“There are other ways for unions to collect their dues that don’t involve state resources,” Dorworth said. On the Senate side, a former Florida Republican Party, Sen. John Thrasher, is sponsoring the measure.

The House approved the measure in a mostly party-line, 73-40 vote. The Senate bill (CS/SB 830) has at least one more committee stop before facing a full vote.

“Do not put lipstick on this elephant,” said Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, adding the measure, “is about silencing the voices of working men and women.”

The measure also allows public employee union members to demand a refund of dollars spent on any union political activity with which they didn’t agree.

Thrasher, who last year guided the state’s GOP to campaign victories that tightened the party’s grip on power in Florida, has said the measure is designed to “empower unions” by making them collect their dues rather than the state. Automatic payroll deductions for union dues has been a common practice by state and local governments, including school boards, for decades.

Union representatives have said it is part of a national effort aimed at scuttling the political influence of teachers, police, firefighters and public employees’ organizations, which campaigned for Democrats last fall and are leading demonstrations against Republican policies this spring.

Unions, including the Florida Police Benevolent Association and Florida Education Association, poured millions of dollars into Democratic campaigns last fall.

Unlike Wisconsin and Ohio, where state capitals have been engulfed in opposition to efforts aimed at ending collective bargaining, union membership in Florida is voluntary.

The Florida Constitution shields workers from being forced to join a union. The constitution, though, also guarantees workers’ right to collective bargaining, a provision Republican Gov. Rick Scott last month said he would like to see repealed.

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11 Responses to “House OK’s barring union deductions”

  1. Carol Says:

    Good move. Why should taxpayers who fund the government have to pay for the bookkeeping involved in deducting dues for unions? Let the unions chase down their own dues. The dues they receive are of no benefit to anyone but those paying the dues and the union leaders. The ability of union members to request refunds of money used by unions to support causes with which they disagreed is a good one, but the union members will never see those refunds…I guarantee it.

  2. Union Member Says:

    Well shouldn’t the United Way have to chase down their donations also? What about the Insurance Companies, Federal Government (taxes), State for Child Support and the COUNTLESS other deductions that PAYROLL Departments are PAID to look after??

  3. Kevin Says:

    This legislation works in conjunction with the partisan Supreme Court’s decision to allow unlimited corporate and union funds to be used to advertize for their candidate of choice. SCOTUS included unions in a thinly veiled attempt to be fair to Democrats and not the Republicans are doing whatever they can to see to it that union donations cannot compete with corporate donations. IE unless people pay their dues via payroll deduction allot of them will go unpaid making the unions go broke. At least that’s their intention.

  4. Mr_Bill Says:

    Re: Union member – union dues are not donations. Unions, not companies or local governments should pay the expense of collecting Dues.

  5. Mr_Bill Says:

    And South Carolina is in the mix:

    Rep. Scott (R-SC) Rep. Garrett and Rep. Burton (R-IN) have introduced legislation aimed at stopping individuals and families from getting food through the Food Stamp program if they go on strike.

    “(3) STRIKING WORKERS INELIGIBLE- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no member of a family unit shall participate in the food stamp program at any time that any able-bodied work eligible adult member of such household is on strike as defined in the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (29 U.S.C. 142(2)), because of a labor dispute (other than a lockout) as defined in section 2(9) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 152(9))

    In the case of loss of income due to any striking family member, the bill adds that a “family unit shall not receive an increased allotment as the result of a decrease in the income of the striking member or members of the household.”

  6. David Says:

    Those up in arms over the cost to the state to collect union dues may want to educate yourselves.

    The state pays NOTHING to collect union dues. Not only does it cast very little, if anything, the unions may be asked to cover that cost. See http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2011/mar/22/john-thrasher/what-does-it-cost-governments-automatic-payroll-de/

    I am also not sure what difference it makes whether the money collected is a donation or not – the point is supposed to prevent the state from collecting money that may be used politically – at least that is the claim.

    Money is money – it can all be used to fund political causes. By the way, there is plenty of insurance money collected by the state, much of it going to lobbying efforts that support republican candidates – I see no complaints there nor do I get to vote on how the money is spent as I do in a union.

  7. Congress Works For Us Says:

    Umm, union workers please answer this: if being a union member is such a good thing, and so necessary to you being treated “fairly” then what’s the problem? Wont your members be clamoring to give you their money every payday?

  8. john Says:

    Hey Congress works for us: do us all a favor, bite down on the barrel and pull the trigger. The rest of us are sick of fighting for your rights…

  9. Gman Says:

    @ David

    You are the one that should educate yourself. Politifact is a wholly owned subsidiary of the St. Petersburg times; the most liberal newspaper in Florida. They are not as impartial as they hold themselves out to be.

    And if unions are so great, I would think union members would be just lining up on their own to turn their money over. Why does the state have to function as a collection agent, minimal cost or not?

  10. Searcher Says:

    Go ahead and make them MAD, Legislators. Before, you just had political ads run against you by the Unions, and most people IGNORE those ads. Now you have a State full of teachers, spouses and parents who are SMOKING MAD. Police, firefighters, government workers and private union members are now worried.

    Now, add that to the fact that President Obama’s re-election try will bring out MASSIVE minority voting, redistricting with NEW CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS and you have a recipe for some REAL FUN!

  11. EvilNYCliberal Says:

    The union deductions are done via payroll because it is more efficient. Companies and states do this because it gives them a window into union operations and it is an inexpensive way to say “Hey, we may disagree with you, but you have the right to exist just like us”

    The Union’s right to exist is no longer recognized by this crop of republicans. Which is a shame because they will NOT like what replaces them.

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