Union dues bill on Florida Senate fast track

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News4Jax | by News Service of Florida Staff | February 9, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A controversial proposal that would add requirements related to deducting union dues from public-employee paychecks could be on the fast track in the Florida Senate.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is slated Wednesday to take up the bill (SB 78), filed by Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero. If it clears the Judiciary Committee, the bill is scheduled to go next week to the Rules Committee, the final step before it could receive a vote on the Senate floor after the 2021 legislative session starts in March.

The bill was delayed last week when the Judiciary Committee ran out of time before voting on it. The bill would make changes to the process of deducting union dues from paychecks. For example, the bill would add a new step in which government employers would have to confirm with workers that they want dues taken out of their pay before the deductions could start. That would be in addition to a current process of union bargaining agents submitting written requests to begin deductions.

Unions representing teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers and other public employees have opposed the bill, with critics saying it is an attempt at “union busting.” But the measure has support from groups such as Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity.

Rodrigues has argued that the bill is about making sure employees have final say about money they have earned. The House during the 2020 session approved a bill that mirrored Rodrigues’ proposal, though a House version has not been filed for the 2021 session.

Photo: Florida Senate website