(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) –Yesterday, the Florida Senate approved a bill to end government collection of union dues from teachers’ paychecks, sending Senate Bill 256 to the state House of Representatives.
Last session, a similar measure passed the House but failed to get a hearing in a Senate committee.
Similar measures are currently working their way through the state legislatures in Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Speaking on a panel Tuesday at the U.S. Department of Labor, National Education Association president Becky Pringle commented on the respective state bills, saying, “Here we are, looking at rights being taken away from union members, educators, workers, and students. The right to learn, the freedom to teach. Right here in our own country. In Florida, in Texas. The right to organize (is) being threatened this week in the state(s) of Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee.”
“Instead of attacking these bills that provide public school employees more control over their own paychecks, we should take a step back and consider what’s really happening,” countered Rusty Brown, southern director for the Freedom Foundation. “SB 256 prevents the state from acting as the debt collector for a private company – and that’s really what the NEA is; a private company that rakes in well over half a billion dollars from taxpayer-funded school employee paychecks every year.”
Brown continued, “automatic payment systems are readily available for anyone to set up today and the only logical reason the union leaders would fight this legislation is because they fear too many of their members won’t see the value in what they are selling.”
“When the unions fight bills that make it easier for teachers to keep more of their own hard-earned paychecks,” Brown concluded, “you know teachers aren’t the unions’ priority.”