HB 25 a bill crafted by Rep. Plakon –  designed to silence the voices of public school educators across this state.  It is an unnecessary bill not for public good but for political pay back.  This is politics at its best.  Rep. Plakon has crafted this bill and has carved out fire, police and first responders because he said those unions provide “a public good” and that having harmony in the ranks of police, fire and first responders is essential for the good of the public.  So is he saying it is not a public good to have harmony in our public schools?

The reality is simple.  FEA plays in politics and we have been pretty darn good at it.  We support candidates that care about public schools and our students.  We hold folks accountable and are not willing to sit by quietly while they dismantle public schools and send public tax dollars to unaccountable, unregulated private and for profit charter schools.  So if you create a bill like this he thinks he will cripple the FEA.  Well he is mistaken.  We were here before they came and we will be here long after they are gone.  Membership continues to soar – especially when they create nonsense bills like this.

This is what the public needs to know.  We are a right to work state.  This means every member of the FEA or any union is so because they CHOSE to be a member.  No one was forced to be a member but the folks who are not members also benefit from the contract we negotiate.  There also are laws on the books for how you form a union and for how you get rid of a union if you don’t want one in your county.  This bill is in search of a problem that does not exist.

The Public Employees Relation Commission (PERC) – this is the body that certifies or decertifies unions in Florida.  It is a commission of three people.  This bill states if you don’t have 50% membership of all the potential people that could be in the union then you are automatically decertified and would have to rectify.  This would increase the work load of PERC – they do not have the capacity to handle that and would need to at least double their employees.  Thus costing taxpayers an extraordinary amount of resources that is unnecessary since there are already laws on the books to decertify a union if the people do not want a union in their district.

His premise is if membership is low the people don’t really want a union.  A faulty premise – people chose or not to be a member based on a variety of reasons but often times it is not that they don’t want a union in their area.  If you ask these folks they tell you they are not a part of the union but do not want the union to go away.  So if we use that premise…then elected officials should not be certified if 50 percent of all registered voters do not vote and they don’t receive 50 percent plus one.  If we use that idea for legislators -we would have to say good bye to a number of house and senate members.  Hmm…there’s a thought.

This is meant to distract us from watching the really bad legislation they will once again try to pass to chip away and dismantle public schools…we will not be fooled.  We will remain vigilant and strong to the cause of standing up, speaking out for our public schools and the 2.8 million students we serve.