Florida, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arkansas Move to Empower Teachers and Other Public Employees
MIDLAND, Mich., April 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Measures to safeguard teachers’ First Amendment rights and to protect their hard-earned paychecks are gaining momentum in statehouses across the country.
In at least five different state legislatures, leaders have prioritized bills that would end the practice of automatically deducting union dues from teachers’ paychecks. The move is designed to put teachers in control of their income and to get taxpayers out of the business of collecting union dues – which often support unions’ political activity.
Several states are pursuing additional measures to empower teachers, such as officially notifying teachers that union membership is optional, notifying teachers annually of the cost of membership and ensuring that teachers can leave or join the union at any time.
States with Current Paycheck Protection Legislation
Florida. HB 1445 and SB 256 end the practice of automatically deducting union dues from teachers’ and most public employees’ paychecks. The bills also raise the threshold for union recertification from 50% to 60%, increasing the likelihood that teachers will have a chance to vote on whether to keep their current union. Governor Ron DeSantis outlined these provisions in his Teacher Bill of Rights.
SB 256 passed the full Senate on March 29. HB 1445 will next be heard by the House State Affairs Committee.
Tennessee. HB 329 and SB 281 provide state teachers the biggest pay increase in state history and also end the practice of automatically deducting union dues from teachers’ paychecks. The bylaws of the Tennessee Education Association, the state’s largest association, allow union leaders to skim salary increases by imposing a special assessment when teachers receive a raise.
Governor Bill Lee has been a vocal advocate of the bills.
Oklahoma. SB 99 ensures that teachers and school employees have the opportunity to evaluate their union membership and dues payment every year. The bill passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Committee on Common Education.
Kentucky. SB 7 would end automatic payroll deductions for union dues and take Kentucky taxpayers out of the business of collecting union dues. The bill also requires unions to provide members with an annual report detailing how dues money was spent. SB 7 passed both the House and the Senate and has gone to the secretary of state for signature.
Arkansas. SB 473 would end automatic teacher payroll deductions for union dues. The bill passed the full Senate on March 30.
As an advocate for employee freedom across the country, Workers for Opportunity commends state legislators for their leadership.
“These states are standing up for teachers by demanding union accountability and transparency,” said Workers for Opportunity Senior Policy Advisor Vincent Vernuccio. “Public employees across these states will soon be empowered to make sure that unions serve them and do not take their membership for granted.”
Workers for Opportunity is a project of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. WFO’s goal is to advance the liberty of employees across the country and protect their First Amendment rights by ensuring they have a full and informed choice in union membership.
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SOURCE Workers for Opportunity