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Union bill limps through Senate panel

by John Kennedy | March 14th, 2011

A measure pushed by the state’s former Republican Party chairman which creates major roadblocks on the political activity of Democratic-allied unions, was narrowly approved Monday by a Senate committee.

Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, who last year led the state’s GOP in campaigns which tightened the party’s grip on power in Florida, said the measure is designed to “empower unions,” while also severing the role of state and local governments in collecting union payroll deductions.

“I frankly don’t understand the concerns,” Thrasher said, after a parade of union representatives testified before the Senate Community Affairs Committee against the bill (CS/SB 830).

The panel approve the meaure 5-4, with Republican Sens. Paula Dockery of Lakeland and Jim Norman of Tampa joining a pair of Democrats in opposition.

“This is nothing more than an attempt to eradicate the voice of union members,” said Jeff McAdams, a union representative for the Gainesville Police Department and Alachua  County Sheriff’s Office.

The legislation would make it more difficult for unions to draw financing by barring state or local governments, including school boards, from deducting or collecting union dues, ending what has been a common practice for decades.

 It also would allow any public employee who didn’t specifically authorize how deductions are used to demand a partial refund of any political spending.

Union representatives testified virtually unanimously against the measure. Florida business groups, including the Florida Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Business, lined up in support of the measure.

Thrasher, whose Democratic opponent last fall was strongly backed by the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, insisted there was nothing personal — or political in the bill.

“But I have heard fron taxpayers,” Thrasher said. “They think these (government) resources should not be used to facilitate private political agendas.”

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19 Responses to “Union bill limps through Senate panel”

  1. Searcher Says:

    Thrasher-

    PAYBACKS are a biotch! Just you wait…

  2. jw Says:

    My payroll deduction union dues is not a government resource. Itmy choice and those who don’t like the unions don’t have to participate. Government needs to stay out people’s affairs. Will they ban me from having my paycheck direct deposited next?

  3. Let freedom ring Says:

    This bill, and others like it, empowers the union worker. And that is the very reason union leadership does not like it. Choice – what a marvelous thing.

  4. Tea Lady Says:

    How refreshing to hear legislators show, by both words and actions, that they understand the mandate given to them by Us The People.

    Mr. Thrasher could not have put it better: “But I have heard from taxpayers. They think these (government) resources should not be used to facilitate private political agendas.”

    Well said, sir!

  5. Mike Says:

    Republican majorities and Republican Governors have been in charge of Florida since 1998.
    Floridians complaining or dissatisfied with their State Government must come to understand this fact.
    Everyone who voted for Republicans believing they were “throwing the bums out” got duped.
    Ever seen a POST article telling everyone that every day this century has been a Republican run day in Florida?

  6. Really Says:

    If you don’t want your money to support a union then dont have it deducted from you paycheck. Problem solved. There is no need for this bill and no need to waste tax dollors dabating the issue. It voluntary not mandated and no state dollars are used. This is shameful!

  7. Really Says:

    @Tea Lady you are either a paid GOP staffer or a lost soul. Either way people like you are part of the problem rather than being part of the solution. Stop with the lies and debate on the facts. I can respect those that speak on the true merits of an issue rather than creating an issue that is not one.

  8. peter Says:

    unions are worried as they know if they wait for members to pay dues on their own they will spend it on their families instead of union brass and politicians after all they old saying charity begins at home!!!its why we go to work every day

  9. seriously? Says:

    why do all of you t-baggers always side with big business in their attempt to limit the rights of the working class? I thought that you believed that the government should stay out of the peoples business… but then you elected a criminal as our governor. Think really is better than being a sheep. they are using you and you don’t even see it.

  10. VeggiePol Says:

    Thrasher is pathetic and this bill is a disgrace.

  11. nemo Says:

    Poster #8 hit it on the head. Unions want the money before the union member decides to spend it on something other than his/her union bosses new car. The entire reason to be a Union boss would be defeated if members spent their dues on their family

  12. GT Says:

    Why should my tax dollars be spent collecting union dues when we need more teachers, police, and fire fighters?

  13. Really Says:

    GT-do you send a check or something to the Unions? Last I checked none of your money went to unions. Stop falling victim of the GOP spin.

  14. Kevin Says:

    this change. Payroll deduction for union dues should never be part of the equation. If you support your union and want a voice then write them a check. Some unions have used this as a bargaining chip in negotiations. In other words they can / will bargain away a raise or some other carrot in order to keep the Dues payroll deduction going. End result is you as an individual loose a raise but your union takes away the benefit of not having to chase members down for money. I was wondering when this was going to come about. I am a Democrat but fully support

  15. Really Says:

    @Kevin even if the person elects to have this deducted from their paycheck? I have daycare, tithes, and parking dues all deducted from my paycheck, so should this change as well?

  16. James Says:

    If Unions are doing a good job then they should be the ones responsible for invoicing their members. Also it should be voluntary that members have to pay them, and if the don’t it shouldn’t affect their credit ratings.

  17. Kevin Says:

    @Really, your company does those things for you as a benifit for you. Your company is not necessarily friendly with your union and as such may not feel obligated to cut them a check leaving that up to the individual union member to do on their own. Sounds petty but if you have ever been present for union negations you would be surprised how contentious and petty it can be

  18. Martha Simmons Says:

    I feel like my rights are being taken away. What comes out of my paycheck is a personal decision. If United Way, insurance, investments, etc. are my decision to be payroll deducted, union dues should be also. It costs the District nothing. We pay a monthly fee for the privilege.

  19. bob Says:

    BANK OF AMERICA IS ABLE TO COLLECT BY AUTOMATIC WITHDRAWALS FROM STATE WORKERS PAYCHECKS AND THEY CONTRIBUTE TO POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? (see http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704131404575117931932163708.html )

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