On Wednesday, March 8, a subcommittee of the Florida House heard Rep. Plakon’s HB 11, a bill that threatens the ability of most public unions across the state to function. The bill requires that public unions maintain at least 50% membership from their potential bargaining units or else face automatic decertification.
Despite impressive gains each and every year, GAU’s dues-paying members are just over 15% of our potential membership. Rep. Plakon insists his bill is about democracy, ensuring that the fate of workers isn’t controlled by a small minority.
During public comment, our president Matt Dauphin set him straight:
This bill represents a threat to unions that serve impoverished workers, like graduate assistants. Graduate Assistants at Florida State University rely on their labor union to represent their interests and improve their working conditions. But because the average graduate assistant earns below poverty wages, many cannot afford the dues to join their union. This bill would make it virtually impossible for their union, and many others, to continue functioning. For workers at the bottom of the pay scale, not joining is rarely about democracy and far more often about poverty.
Although representatives from GAU, the FEA, and the AFL-CIO offered testimony against the bill, it passed the subcommittee 10-4 along party lines. It goes on to the Government Accountability committee for its next hearing.
Read the Tallahassee Democrat‘s article about this here.