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Florida's dues deduction ban stays in place amid an ongoing lawsuit

 A three-story brick building with navy blue window awnings
Anna Jones
WFSU Public Media
A three-story brick building with navy blue window awnings

A Florida-based U.S. District judge has refused to put on hold a new law that removes the ability of some union members to automatically deduct their dues from their government paychecks. The case itself continues in the courts.

“This was an emergency injunction [request] so the case as a whole is still intact and on course but we’re going to talk about what is our best course of action going forward and that’s a decision a lot of our lawyers will discuss and recommend," said Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar.

The law singles out certain unions including the FEA, the state’s largest teachers union, along with those representing government employees. It exempts unions for law enforcement.

The Florida legislature approved the change earlier this year, with the Republican sponsors stating it gives more power to the employees. The unions have decried the law as a union-busting move.

The affected unions argue the legislature's change undermined contracts they'd already entered into before the new law took effect on July 1. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker agreed with that, but stated the unions were not persuasive enough " that, at this juncture, the challenged provision has substantially interfered with their reasonable expectations regarding their ability to collect dues from payroll deductions.”

He added that the unions were aware they are subject to state regulation and that there are alternatives to automatic payroll deduction that they could use.

The FEA's Spar acknowledged that the unions are no longer using the automatic paycheck deductions and that all have switched to automatic checking account deductions which their members can set up on their own. Spar says so far 110,000 out of 140,000 of its members are using the automatic account withdrawal system.

Copyright 2023 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.

Lynn Hatter has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas. She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative.
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