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Politics / Issues

FL House Approves Bill That Could Undermine Unions

Rep. Scott Plakon (R-Longwood)
Rep. Scott Plakon (R-Longwood)
Rep. Scott Plakon (R-Longwood)
Credit Mark Foley via FL House website
Rep. Scott Plakon (R-Longwood)

The Florida House has approved a measure taking away union bargaining rights if less than half its members pay dues.  The bill’s Republican sponsor Scott Plakon of Longwood says it’s unfair for as little as 5 percent of workers to decide for everyone.  

But Rep. Amy Mercado (D-Orlando) questions his logic.

“I take issue with that statement and that description,” Mercado says, “as we as a body of 160 total members represent 20 million Floridians—which means in other words we are less than one percent making decisions for 99+ percent.”

At a press conference after the floor session, the Plakon pushed back.

“We in each of our districts are elected by each,” Plakon says, “Here you have, using my example of 5 percent, you have the other 95 percent don’t even care enough to pay dues.”

“So I don’t think that that’s a good analogy—might be a good talking point, sounds good—but I don’t think it’s apples to apples.”

Because Florida is a right to work state, paying dues is optional.  Democrats argue the measure is aimed at undermining left-leaning unions like teachers.  The bill wouldn’t apply to organizations representing police, firefighter or corrections officers.

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