Florida Follows Wisconsin’s Lead


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The state of Florida is apparently following Wisconsin’s lead.  In what the Orlando Sentinel is characterizing as a “major blow to public employee unions,” legislators in the House passed HB1021, a bill which would ban automatic paycheck deductions for union dues and require union members to decide whether or not they want their dues to be used for political advocacy by union leaders. Democrats and labor leaders accuse Republicans of “union-busting,” while Republicans counter that they are getting the state out of “the dues deduction business” and allowing the unions to do it.  Rep. Chris Dorworth, (R-Lake Mary) claims such a measure “empowers membership of labor unions.”

Which side is telling the truth?  Both, sort of.  But it is Democrats who are being far more disingenuous.  It no secret the American labor movement, not just in Florida but every other state in the union as well, overwhelmingly supports the Democrat party.  Or to be more accurate, the labor movement’s leadership does.  And therein lies the crux of that disingenuousness.  Both compulsory dues collection, coupled with no input from the people who pay them with respect to political preferences, gives union leaders enormous clout.  Nowhere is such clout better illuminated than the unionization of the American public school system which, no matter how badly it performs, has been fantastically successful in resisting virtually any changes to the status quo.

Florida, like other states, provides the reason why.  During the 2010 election cycle, The Florida Education Association (FEA), the biggest union contributor in the state, gave $3.5 million out of $4.1 million in campaign donations to Democrats.  The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) spent $1.4 million, again mostly on Democrats.

What percentage of campaign contributions by those unions went to each party on a national level?  The website opensecrets.com provides a nationwide overview for the years 1989-2010. The National Education Association (NEA) was the eighth largest campaign contributor in the nation, and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) clocked in at number thirteen.  The NEA contributed 93 percent to Democrats and 6 percent to Republicans, while the AFT went 98 percent Democrat and zero percent Republican.  AFSCME was the third highest campaign contributor in the nation, giving 98 percent to Democrats and one percent to the GOP.

Thus, labor leaders are being accurate when they say that ending the cycle of automatic dues collection with no input from union members as to how those dues are used politically, may not be union-busting per se, but the overall effect is the same.  Yet such a contention is accompanied by an admission, even if it is made inadvertently.  For decades, union leaders have asserted the labor movement’s “solidarity,” without bothering to mention that such solidarity was largely compulsory.  In reality, compulsory solidarity is an oxymoron, which is why Rep. Dorworth’s contention that union membership, as opposed to leadership, will be empowered, is also accurate.

What galls union leadership even more is that the bill passed in the Florida House allows public service employees to demand a refund on any union political activity with which they disagree.  Human nature being what it is, one suspects that such an arrangement might cause more than a few public service employees to suddenly “discover” that their political inclinations have never been what the union leadership assumed they were.  It is unclear how far back in time such claims for refunds can go.

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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 .