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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

GOP-led legislature offers up ideas to squeeze unions



 With a national wind at their back and a Republican majority in their grip, the Florida Legislature is going after unions.

Only days into this year’s session, House and Senate lawmakers have taken up three bills that would weaken the teacher’s labor organization, restrict the political clout of all public unions, and reduce the benefits of all state workers.

On Thursday, a House committee voted 12-6 along party lines for a bill that prevents public unions from using payroll deductions to collect union dues. The Senate passed a teacher pay bill that, among other things, eliminates tenure for teachers hired after July 1 and ties their pay to student performance. And both chambers are moving bills that restrict the collective bargaining clout of unions.

Union representatives say the bevy of bills shows that the Republican-controlled Legislature is capitalizing on a national anti-union sentiment.

“What you’re seeing in Florida isn’t an idea that is begin hatched in Florida,’’ said Ron Meyer, lawyer and lobbyist for the Florida Education Association, the teachers’ union. “They’re simply trying to apply a national square peg into the Florida round hole.’’ More here.

[Last modified: Friday, March 11, 2011 8:04am]


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