Friday, May 12, 2023

DeSantis Signs Law Cracking Down on Teachers Unions

By Madeline Leesman |

AP Photo/Phil Sears

On Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill into law that prohibits teachers unions from automatically deducting money from public employee's paychecks for union dues.

The bill, H.B. 256, which he described as “paycheck protection,” will require members of a union to write a check to pay their union dues rather than allowing unions to deduct money out of the worker’s paycheck. 

The “Employee Organizations Representing Public Employees” law also requires public-employee unions to annually notify members of union costs. 

“You have this situation with school unions… what they do is they provide authorization forms, blanket authorizations for automatic deduction of dues. So even though a lot of teachers don’t do it, many teachers feel pressure to do it and so what this bill does, it protects them. It says no automatic deductions for school union dues. If you want to join you can, but you can write a check and you hand it over. That is going to lead to more take home pay for teachers because they are not going to have as many deductions in their paychecks,” DeSantis said on Tuesday ahead of the bill signing. 

According to FloridaPolitics, if a union doesn’t have at least 60 percent membership, it must apply for recertification. 

“These laws are gaining in popularity because people see that public-sector unions are using taxpayer money to play political games, and they’re tired of the corruption,” said Rusty Brown, the southern director of the Freedom Foundation, said in a statement. 

“Government employee unions have long been political entities, but until recently they flew under the radar. Government-imposed lockdowns, particularly in schools, exposed the corrupting influence of teachers’ unions,” Brown added. “By signing this bill into law, Gov. DeSantis is standing up for government employees who have been held hostage by their unions. Until recently, government unions held a monopoly on workplace representation, making it exceedingly difficult for public employees to resign from their union and stop dues deductions.”

Tampa-based outlet WMNF reported that the Florida Education Association announced it would hold a news conference this week to detail “next steps” in response to the law. 

“This new law grossly oversteps in trying to silence teachers, staff, professors and most other public employees,” FEA President Andrew Spar said in a statement to the outlet.

Additionally, The New York Times reported Tuesday that Florida rejected “dozens” of social studies textbooks and forced changes in others. 

“The state objected to content on topics like the Black Lives Matter movement, socialism and why some citizens ‘take a knee’ during the national anthem,” the report stated. 

And, DeSantis announced that he would officially establish a “9/11 Heroes Day” in Florida schools. 

"You think about it, many of us remember [9/11] and that was kind of a big deal for our country in terms of the last generation," DeSantis said, which Townhall covered. "But you look at these kids in high school here, they were not even born when September 11 happened."

"It's important that those folks are honored," he added, referring to the Americans who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks.