Teachers Union Sues Over DeSantis’ Law Blocking Auto-Deducting Dues From Paychecks

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Reagan Reese Contributor
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Florida’s largest teachers union and its affiliates are suing over Republican state Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new legislation that regulates how public-employee unions collect dues.

DeSantis signed the “Employee Organizations Representing Public Employees” into law on Tuesday, banning teachers unions from automatically deducting dues from paychecks. The Florida Education Association (FEA), alongside the United Faculty of Florida and the Alachua County Education Association, filed a Wednesday lawsuit against three Florida Public Employees Relations Commission officials, alleging that the law imposes “draconian restrictions” and violates the union’s “fundamental right to freedom of speech and association.” (RELATED: ‘Not A Competition’: Teachers Union President Can’t Answer If Parents Care More About Their Kids’ Education)

“We maintain that this law is unconstitutional on its face, irrespective of any bad motive on the part of the governor,” Andrew Spar, FEA president, said in a press conference. “However, we do believe there are bad motives. The governor is using this legislation to retaliate against his critics, very similar to what we’ve seen in the attacks on Disney as well.”

Under the law, which goes into effect July 1, public-employee unions must annually notify members of due costs and may no longer deduct payments from paychecks. The law also requires teachers unions to represent at least 60% of educators.

Unions can no longer pass out membership materials within the workplace and union officials are not allowed to conduct membership duties during the hours of their full-time job, according to the law.

“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,” DeSantis said in a press conference ahead of signing the bill. “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.”

The law states that union members also must sign a membership authorization form acknowledging that Florida is a right-to-work state. No union official can make more than the highest-paid member, the law states.

“SB 256 [Employee Organizations Representing Public Employees] is an extension of Governor DeSantis’s broader campaign against public educators and public education itself, which the Plaintiffs have vigorously and publicly opposed,” the lawsuit stated. “In advancing his anti-education campaign, Governor DeSantis has complained of the ‘excessive influence’ of school unions—while expressing no such concerns for the influence of public unions he favors and who have politically supported him.”

The Florida Public Employees Relations Commission did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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