DeSantis Deals Two Massive Blows to Teachers Unions, This Will Definitely Hurt Their Checkbooks

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill into law that will help teachers learn just how much of their pay is being taken away from them by the teachers unions — and allows teachers to opt out of joining the unions in the first place. Unsurprisingly, the unions are furious about being exposed. On Tuesday, DeSantis, who has helped usher through many excellent school reforms, posted a tweet revealing some of the details of his most recent efforts on education, including a new “Teacher’s Bill of Rights,” a paycheck protection measure and school board election reforms. One of the biggest moves in these new measures is the new ability teachers will have to opt out of being a member of teachers unions and to nix their ability to automatically deduct union dues and fees from a teacher’s paycheck. The new law, SB 256, will require teachers to formally sign an authorization form to allow the union to deduct money from their paychecks. Until now, unions automatically took the money away from teachers whether the educator wanted to be part of the union or not. DeSantis celebrated the law, saying it will increase a teacher’s take-home pay. “That is going to lead to more take-home pay for teachers because they’re not going to have as many deductions in their paycheck,” the governor said, according to Florida’s Voice News. Not only will teachers be given the form to sign to declare their desire to be part of the union starting on July 1, but the document also will go into detail about all the money the unions deduct from a teacher’s paycheck. In addition, the form will alert teachers that they do not have to be union members as a condition of employment. The new reforms also raised the threshold for union certification from 50 percent of voting teachers to 60 percent, meaning that unions will now have to win majority support or fail to be certified to represent teachers in a school or district. Other provisions provide for annual audits and financial disclosures of unions, allowing state investigations into union fraud, waste and abuse, and end the ability of union operatives and lobbyists to give gifts and payola to elected officials. “It’s also something that’s going to allow the state to look at how many people are joining and if you don’t have a sufficient number of joining, then that should not be the bargaining unit, if you don’t even represent the majority of people,” DeSantis said. The governor also touted the signing of HB 379, which blocks social media apps such as TikTok from being available on school internet systems as well as district-issued computers, phones and other internet-ready devices. The law also prevents schools from using TikTok to advertise school activities and requires schools to instruct children on the baleful effects of social media. [firefly_poll] Naturally, the unions and their supporters are furious about SB 256 because they will lose revenue. Other states have passed measures to end the automatic withdrawal of union dues from public workers, and such laws often result in lower revenue for the unions and declines in union membership. The moves came in the wake of a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision that banned mandatory union fees and dues in the public sector. Democratic Florida state Rep. Lauren Book blasted the new law, saying it “proves” that Republicans “don’t trust our teachers.” “We can trust teachers to make their own personal choices in how they spend their hard-earned money, and attempting to silence the groups that advocate for better pay and better working conditions is unconstitutional and undemocratic,” Book said in support of the ability of unions to automatically remove money from teachers’ paychecks. As the fight over closing schools and implementing draconian lockdowns during the COVID-19 hysteria showed, teachers unions have enjoyed holding a death grip over our public education systems, mostly to the detriment of kids’ health and their education. DeSantis’ blow to the unions puts them on notice that they are no longer in charge in the state of Florida. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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