FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 9, 2021

CONTACT: Emerson W. George

850-320-3803

emerson@jamesmadison.org

The James Madison Institute and AFP-Florida Praise Proposals to Protect Public Employees’ Rights

TALLAHASSEE – The James Madison Institute and Americans for Prosperity Florida (AFP-FL), together with the national Workers for Opportunity Initiative and Center for Worker Progress Action, praise the leadership of Representative Cord Byrd, Senator Dennis Baxley, and Senator Ray Rodrigues for their efforts to protect the rights of Florida public employees.

Their proposals would seek to bring Florida into compliance with the United States Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in Janus v. AFSCME. This landmark ruling established that no public employees, in any state, should have union dues withheld from their paychecks without their regularly renewed consent. While Florida is a right-to-work state, Janus still requires public employers to produce this proof of consent, obtained directly from the employee, rather than simply taking the unions’ word for it, or relying on dated dues consent forms. Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court was clear in articulating that employees should have the opportunity to regularly assert their intentions to pay or not pay a union, and that their consent cannot be presumed to last in perpetuity.

“Representative Byrd and Senators Rodrigues and Baxley are demonstrating a commitment to public employees across our state in advancing proposals that would ensure Florida public employers have obtained their consent directly and regularly before union dues are withdrawn from employees’ hard-earned paychecks,” Sal Nuzzo, Vice President of Policy at The James Madison Institute.

“For too long, public employees have inherited union representation without having a say. This bill is a needed step to ensure public employees’ voice can be heard within their union representation. We urge lawmakers to support this bill that can make our state a leader in protecting public workers’ freedoms and liberties,” Skylar Zander, State Director at Americans for Prosperity Florida.

“Representative Byrd and Senator Rodrigues and Baxley’s proposals would make Florida a national model for how to rightfully recognize and respect public employee’s freedoms. Policymakers around the country should learn from their leadership as they explore how to protect the rights of workers in their states,” Lindsay Killen, Vice President for Strategy at Workers for Opportunity and the Center for Worker Progress Action.

Background:  

In 2018, Florida enacted a law requiring teachers unions to recertify. According to a 2012 Heritage Foundation study, only one percent of Florida teachers in the state’s ten largest districts were working in their current capacity when their schools unionized.