The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

House bans union dues from payroll deduction

25

March

As Democrats blasted the Republican-led Legislature for targeting the working class and abusing their political muscle, the Florida House voted 73-40 Friday to stop the automatic withdrawal of union dues from state and local government worker pay checks. Three Republicans crossed over to vote with Democrats, Reps. Ana Rivas Logan of Miami Dade, Mike Weinstein of Jacksonville and Ed Hooper of Clearwater, a retired fire lieutenant.

Although there is virtually no cost to the allowing government workers to choose to have a portion of their pay automatically withdrawn for 10 unions in Florida, proponents argued that it was necessary to get government out of the business of collecting fees for private groups.

“The concept of government getting involved in the collection of union dues when union dues are used for partisan political purposes is contrary to the very notion of limited government,’’ said Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, who added that it was the most divisive debate they have had this session.

“There is arrogance but the arrogance is on the side of those bill who clearly don’t believe that membership of labor unions are smart enough to make the most fundamental deicison of membership and that is whether to belong.”

But Dorworth acknowledged there is no move to end the same practice of automatic payroll deduction for the United Way, the Florida State University booster club, or the more than 300 other organizations that use payroll deduction from state and local workers.

While Republicans labeled the legislation the "payroll protection bill," Democrats called it union busting and "the Worker Gag bill."

“What’s the real reason for this bill?” asked House Democratic Leader Rep. Ron Saunders of Key West. " Two words: Political Payback. We all realize that unions generally support Democrats.” He thanked Dorworth for “kicking the sleeping bear.”

“If unions don’t get the message now where they stand politically...then, truthfully they deserve what they get,’’ Saunders said..

[Last modified: Friday, March 25, 2011 4:50pm]

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