26 September 2023

UNITED STATES: New law puts curbs on public sector unions

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The Governor of the US State of Florida, Ron DeSantis has signed into law legislation that places additional restrictions of public sector unions, including a ban on union dues being automatically deducted from workers’ pay.

While the changes would affect a variety of public employee unions, much of the attention has focused on teachers’ unions, which supported Mr DeSantis’ opponent, Democrat Charlie Crist, in last year’s gubernatorial election.

The Bill also requires gauging how many eligible employees are dues-paying union members.

If fewer than 60 per cent of eligible employees are members, unions will only be recognised by the lesser status of ‘bargaining agents’.

It will also allow individual public employers to challenge union applications to renew registrations as bargaining agents if the employers think the applications are inaccurate.

Unions representing law enforcement officers, correctional officers and firefighters are exempt from the new requirements.

Legislative supporters of the Bill argued it would increase transparency and make unions stronger, while Mr DeSantis (pictured), who is expected to seek the Republican nomination for President in 2024, touted the elimination of dues deductions from pay.

“Now you’re in a situation where people get their pay-cheque. If they want to then take a cheque and write it to the union, they have every right to do it,” Mr DeSantis said.

“However, they’ll be doing it with their eyes wide open, and they’ll know exactly how much money they’re talking about.”

Tallahassee, 12 May 2023

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