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Gwen Graham rips union bill passed by Florida House

The House says unions should be more transparent about membership
CHRIS URSO | Times Florida gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham, top, sits with other students during an AP economics class at A. Crawford Mosley High School Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 in Lynn Haven, FL. Graham is continuing the "workday" tradition started by her father. During her day at Mosley she worked as a student and attended classes with Mosley High School senior Caroline Noble, 17.
Published Jan. 25, 2018

Florida House Speaker and likely gubernatorial candidate Richard Corcoran today hailed the House's 65-41 vote in favor of HB 25, a bill that would require unions to publicly disclose more information about their membership. Sponsored by Longwood Republican Scott Plakon, the bill would require decertification of unions (with the exception of GOP-friendly unions representing police, firefighters and correctional officers) in which less than 50 percent of eligible employees opt to pay union dues.

Said Corcoran: "It's an automatic red flag when any group advocates a position that encourages less transparency and accountability. The answers to our problems are never solved with less transparency. Every organization has a duty to be upfront, transparent, and accountable to its members in all aspects of its operations. It's no secret that the Florida House is committed to strengthening transparency and accountability wherever and whenever possible. Employees shouldn't be forced to be represented by an organization they disagree with or no longer support. The House will always fight to empower individuals over bureaucrats."

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham, a former PTA presidents worked as an attorney for the Leon County school system, called it a partisan attack on teacher unions:

"Through 20 years of one-party Republican control, the politicians in Tallahassee have sold out our public schools to the education industry. This union-busting bill targeting teachers and public sector employees is the latest and most despicable attack on public education."

"Working as a public school official, I sat across the table from our local teachers, paraprofessionals, custodians and bus drivers — all represented by unions — and negotiated with them to reach the best contracts and agreements to support teachers, schools and students. No one teaches to get rich, especially in Florida, where we have some of the lowest paid educators in the country. Teachers wake up at the crack of dawn, pay for classroom supplies, and go the extra mile because they want to make a real difference in our children's lives and our state's elected officials should be ashamed for failing to pay them what they deserve."

"Attacking teachers and public-sector employees has been a core part of the Republican politicians' playbook for 20 years. When I am governor, we're going to end the attacks and put students first again by supporting our public schools, paying teachers what they deserve and ending high-stakes testing."