Florida Follows Wisconsin’s Lead

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With respect to the state of Florida, union leaders have two semi-legitimate points.   First, as Florida AFL-CIO legislative and political director Rich Templin claims, unions are being unfairly singled out because Florida does automatic payroll deductions for about 300 other entities, such as charities and insurance companies, some of whose political contributions “dwarf those of organized labor.” Perhaps the solution here is not to re-instate state payroll deductions for unions, but to eliminate them for everyone, something which would undoubtedly save the state money.  Second, Florida is a “right to work” state and the Florida Constitution forbids anyone from being forced to join a union.  Thus, union leaders contend, anyone who voluntarily joins a union should be subjected to whatever restrictions the union imposes, including mandatory dues collection.  This is an understandable argument with one exception: the same worker who perceives the benefits he gains from joining a union, may still be diametrically opposed to the leadership’s political positions.

Union sympathizers are undeterred.  “Please don’t put lipstick on this elephant,” said Rep. Janet Cruz (D-Tampa). “This bill is about one thing. It’s about silencing the voices of working men and women.” Yet even if it is, Ms. Cruz omits one critical point:  such silence would be voluntarily self-imposed by those union members who opt out of paying their dues.  If their “voice” is as important to members as Ms. Cruz contends, it would stand to reason that an overwhelming majority of the membership would continue to support the status quo.  If not, it is possible to conclude that members find such a status quo unnecessary–or that they like the idea of being able to bargain with their own leadership far more effectively than is currently possible

As for House Democratic Leader Ron Saunders of Key West’s claim the bill is about “Two words: political payback,” one might remind Mr. Sauders that a similar phrase would be the one used by president Barack Obama three days after his inauguration 2009, when he reminded an assemblage of Republican and Democrat lawmakers from Congress that “elections have consequences” and “I won.”

The Florida Senate version of the House’s HB1021 is SB830, introduced by Sen. John Thrasher (R-Jacksonville).  This bill was approved by a 5-4 vote in committee with five Republicans voting in favor, and two Democrats and two Republicans against. It is awaiting two more panels.  “We are a right-to-work state, and in a right-to-work state, this bill is not necessary,” said dissenting Republican Paula Dockery.  “[The taxpayers] think their resources ought not to be used for political agendas,” countered Thrasher, who claimed those are the  complaints he’s hearing from the public.

SB830 may not make it to the Senate floor.  Next stop is the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee, which consists of nine Republican and four Democratic members.  Yet opponents contend that Republicans are not monolithically in support of the legislation, and that it has “anything but a smooth ride” ahead of it.

Like Wisconsin and other states, Florida is battling to get government finances under control.  Ironically, its budget deficit is the same $3.6 billion that afflicts Wisconsin, and in February, Governor Rick Scott introduced a plan he called the “nation’s most fiscally conservative,” and “Florida’s first jobs budget” in a state where the unemployment rate is the nation’s third highest at 12 percent, and foreclosure filings rank second.  “Things cannot improve until we have more private sector jobs,” Scott said.  Such a sentiment is gaining traction all across the nation, and will undoubtedly be a large factor in the 2012 election.

Perhaps elections have–and may have–consequences after all.


Arnold Ahlert is a contributing columnist to the conservative website JewishWorldReview.com.


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  • jbtrevor

    No more easy money

  • Texasron

    Abolish public unions.

  • Boca Cond King

    And they can do so easily by giving the union permission to make an automated deduction from their checking account, just like many other bills.

    But the person paying now has the control to stop that payment at anytime, and that is the problem for the union.

  • waterwillows

    What a grand idea! Imagine giving people….choice…..
    I can certainly see why the democrats are up in arms over this. They really don't seem to know what choice is.
    Now they will have a bit of a chance of learning about it.

  • Supreme_Galooty

    There are some things that government does well, like regulating and over-regulating business activity, restricting access to public lands, interfering in international trade, protecting its borders, etc. There are other things that government does NOT do so well, like making shoes, providing airline passenger security, and running schools. American children have been ill served by government schools for many decades, and the trend is down – and remains down. It is not encouraging. Tweaking the system by fiddling around is not going to amount to a hill of small chicken feed in the over-all scheme of things.

    Poking a stick in the eye of the neighborhood bully (teachers' unions) is mighty fun, but win, lose or draw nothing productive will come of it.

  • Amused

    Nice figures regarding Union political contributions , and probably correct , but why not show how big buisiness contributes , you know just to be fair and NOT hypocritical . I'm sure you'd find those figures weighing heavily on contributions to REPUBLICANS . It's a two way street , and as EVERY workingman knows , and always has known , Republicans have never been on the side of labor , and always on the side of big buisiness . Deal with it , there will always be " pushback " …that's the way it is . Teachers are easy targets , why not try the truckers and the Teamsters Union .
    Cries like those of Texasron , will always accentuate exactly WHY unions are needed , and why unions will continue to exist .

  • Amused

    Trevor says "no more easy money " , Texasron say " abolish all unions " , Waterwillows says "choice….. " , unfortunately these people speak with split tongue , for in right to work States , Unions must represent non-members , non-members get the SAME benefits as members , it takes bargaining committees time and expense to negociate these things , time and expense to represent all members in court actions involving unfair practice by the companies . If you want " FAIR " then let non-dues paying employees negociate their own contract , represent themselves in grievances , pay their own legal expenses , secure their own medical plans , maintain their oiwn pension funds etc. totally seperate from the Unions you people detest . Automatic dues deductions , is a means to cut expenses , and each member by law have a two week period each year to opt out of the union and end these deductions . So WHAT is the REAL argument here ?

  • Amused

    Big Companies and Small contribute to Republican coffers , and spend ALOT of money of Washington and State Lobbies , as is evidenced in Wisconsinb, Michigan Ohio , Maine and especially Florida . And in Florida's case , all one simply need to , is to read the State Labor Laws , to see to what extent this lobbying has gained for employers .Without a unon the employee has virtually no rights , no recourse whatsoever should an employee get fired unjustly . READ the laws before shooting your mouths off , in Florida an employee may be fired for any reason , or NO reason , any time , without notice . Now if you anti-union hacks think that is fair , I suggest you go back and reviosit 3rd grade ethics .If you think all the lobbying efforts on the part of big buisiness is for "fairness " , then you are either hopelessy naive , or in willfull denial .

    • facebook

      " in Florida an employee may be fired for any reason , or NO reason , any time , without notice "

      So its ok that the private sector faces this but its not if the public sector does?

      Based off how much you post on this site, you must be one of those people sitting at home, watching government media, collecting social security.

      Just to comment on your comparing of unions and big businiess. Its not really a two way street as you say because although both have the right to contibute. Unions due fees are tax exempt so a portion of their contribution was not taxed. Again not really apples to oranges. (btw this is money laundering in plain site)

      As far as your last post , how much do you think the democrates have cost the tax payers of Wisconsin by fleeing the state and prolonging a bill that was gonna happen regardless.

      Last time i checked it takes a majority to elect an offical. In Wisconsins case, the demacrates tryed to deny the will of a majority of the people by their failed attempt to stop walkers bill.

      Now stop being a Troll on this site

      • Amused

        That's right i does , and I wonder if Walker campaigned on a platform of unbion bustig …I kinda doubt it . And YES , I collected my first Social Scurity Check , OF WHICH I'VE BEEN PAYING INTO since age 14 ,What of it ? You got something against it ? You people talk like SS is something that is bestowed on people at YOUR expense …WRONG CHUMP , we've been paying it all of our working lives , so too Medicare , maybe you never looked at the deductions on your pay stub .These are not handouts , they've been earned and payed for by the recipients , so save your B.S. At present , your politicians , through their "legislation "anaged to now owe SS , $ 1 Trillion dollars , that's the reason SS is allegedly in trouble .

        • Amused

          And as far as union dues being tax exempt ? Wanna get into what corporations avoid in taxes , and the lobbied legislation that gives them all their "PERKS "? In addition , "Right to work legislation " is the direct result of political contributions and lobbying of politicians who are in the pocket of big buisiness , likre your boy Walker . BTW , countering and refuting your B.S. political rhetoric is not trolling .

  • Truth Warrior

    Another "FACT" being spread by a dimacrat usefull dupe. If you check how much, and to whom, Wall Street gives their money you will be surprised. They give the majority of their money to the dims.

  • Amused

    No , when it comes to Wall Street , contributions are " bi-partisan " ….probably the ONLY bi-partisanship we'll ever see in this country .- buying of whoever is in office in the State of New York ..I've never said or implied on these threads, that Republicans were the only ones who were bought and paid for .Nor have I said that the mes we're in , was caused soley by ONE party . But on the issues of UNION BUSTING , ANTI-LABOR LEGISLATION , LOBBYING , and all the vitriol and nonsense being spewed forth , lies in the domain of Republicans ,and gthe so-called Conservatives .