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Union-Busting Bill Narrowly Clears Hurdle and GOP Dissents Before Full Vote at Florida Legislature

| April 13, 2011

Those were the days.

A bill barring the state from deducting union dues from public employees’ paychecks narrowly passed the Senate Budget Committee during a raucous meeting Wednesday, leaving the measure one stop short of the Senate floor.

The measure (SB 830), which has sparked a strong union backlash, passed the panel on an 11-9 vote, with three Republicans breaking ranks: Sen. Thad Altman of Viera, Sen. Mike Fasano of New Port Richey and Sen. Anitere Flores of Miami.

A fourth Republican on the committee, Sen. Evelyn Lynn of Ormond Beach, didn’t vote. Majority Leader Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, was given a vote for Wednesday’s meeting despite not normally being a member of the committee.

Democrats voted as a bloc to oppose the bill, which opponents say is nothing less than an attempt to gut unions and further consolidate Republican control of the state.

Supporters, though, say the measure is designed to instead remove the government from the collection of money that is often funneled to political causes and to give union members more freedom to decide how and whether to support organized labor.

“This legislation promotes the transparency and separation of government and those who would try to influence it,” said Marianne Moran, executive director of Tea Party in Action.

Dozens of union members and others spoke during the committee meeting, with loud outbursts of applause that finally prompted Chairman J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, to warn audience members to remain quiet. In all, at least 128 appearance cards were submitted, though many would-be speakers waived their time or didn’t get to the dais before the panel moved to a vote.

Several speakers bored in on their claim that the measure has nothing to do with what Republicans say is their first priority in this session: Creating jobs.

“What are you doing?” asked Sunrise Mayor Michael Ryan, which set off a round of loud applause.

Rick Spence, an Orlando paramedic who said he was a Christian and a Republican, laced into members of his own party whom he said he had believed during the election.

“Senate Bill 830 has nothing to do with jobs or the economy,” Spence said. “It has everything to do with penalizing unions. I have never once thought the party of Lincoln would resort to tactics that have been used by some of history’s most notorious despots and tyrants to silence opposition.”

The bill now heads to the Senate Rules Committee, the final stop before hitting the Senate floor. The House has already passed its version of the measure.

–Brandon Larrabee, News Service of Florida

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10 Responses for “Union-Busting Bill Narrowly Clears Hurdle and GOP Dissents Before Full Vote at Florida Legislature”

  1. DLF says:

    Times are a changing……for the better I hope.

  2. William says:

    This is the inevitable afterbirth of Citizens United. Since the ruling allows both corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts on influencing elections, it is now imperative that unions be eviscerated and nullified so that the only voices you’ll hear come election time are those promoting the corporate agenda. If measures such as this succeed we can officially kiss the republic good-bye, and say hello to fascism. Government of the corporation, by the corporation, for the corporation, with you as its indentured slaves.

    Unions have been the final check on corporate power. If they are gone the company can do as it wishes with the workforce, and the ranks of the proletariat will grow exponentially. And the pain will come. Maybe then the previously indifferent or willfully ignorant will be fed up enough to take the country back, because Americans really do only respond to pain.

    So go on, kill the unions, but, as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.

    You’ll be fucked.

    I’ll be an ex-pat.

  3. palmcoaster says:

    These are the terrible consequences of people in Florida voting against their own tax and labor interest. Scammed by these two face tea bagers GOP. Now lets see how are they going to shake off these middle class, workers and union busting legislators, that only lobby for the benefit of the super wealthy that finance their campaigns. Is okay for big money to finance politicians but not for the workers unions to do so…hello? All, except the top one percent in Florida like Arizona, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, NJ, etc. will be screwed big time now. Better watch it what you all wish at the ballot box when you give in to campaign lies. Only way out is recall/impeach, now.

  4. Bob Z. says:

    Why not target the other organizations that people support as well, the ones that the State allows payroll deductions for?

  5. William says:

    @ Bob Z.

    Because those organizations are a lesser obstacle than the unions. But don’t you worry, they’ll get to them once they’ve succeeded in crushing the unions.

    I’ve posted this quote before, seems worth repeating:

    “We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce worker’s salaries, and take away their right to strike.”

    Adolf Hitler
    2 May, 1933

  6. rickg says:

    Just another example of what it means to be a working person in Florida and voting Republican. Its like a chicken voting for Col. Sanders.

  7. DLF says:

    Yes, the unions along with the government did a good job with the auto and steel industries. Why do you think the non- union auto companies out sell and make a better product then the UAW plants? Why do we have a 8-10% jobless rate, why are we having the education issues today, how can someone make a TV in China ,ship it to the USA and sell it cheaper? Why do we pay someone in a UAW plant to sweep the floor and pay them $50-$75 per hour? You can thank the union in part for the mess we are in, how long have they been around compared to the teabaggers?

  8. William says:

    The TeaBirchers have been around since the founding of the country. Remember the dustup over Thomas Jefferson’s inclusion of the phrase “All men are created equal” in the declaration of independence? And please show some evidence of the $50-$75/hr floor sweeping jobs.

    Why are we having education issues today? First and foremost we are failing to educate our children. Rather than teaching them to think, we teach them how to take a test.

    Oh, I forgot. It’s all the teacher’s unions fault.

  9. DLF says:

    Williams: Google auto wages and when you include retirement, sick pay, vacation and all the other bennies it comes out to be around $50- $70, this is for the UAW plants only. The other plants have not been fished in by the empty promises of the UAW. I guess we can say Jimmy Hoffa did a great job…. of stealing. Some school teachers in OTHER states WI for one are making close to this number when you include all the bennies.It is just not hourly pay that some of the liberals want us to believe is so low, who pays for all the bennies? Who is failing to teach ;the guy at Burger King , the girl at Wendys?.Teachers are paid to teach. I guess the guy at Food Lion is forcing the teachers to teach test taking.Put the fault at the feet of the people who are getting paid to teach and run the educational system, not the teabaggers. Who keeps and protects the teacher who is not doing their job, let me spell it for you u n i o n who gives a poor teacher a job for life, let me spell it for you again u n i o n.


  10. William says:

    Keep right on spouting the Fux news/rethug/TeaBircher talking points David, I’ll keep calling bullshit.

    That $75 an hour UAW wage is a lie:

    Don’t bother me with platitudes, circular arguments, or debunked horseshit you pull out of your ass. If you want to be taken seriously in these discussions, quit making shit up.

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