BusinessEducationCould Legislation Targeting Public-Sector Unions Threaten Academic Freedom?

Could Legislation Targeting Public-Sector Unions Threaten Academic Freedom?


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Union leaders and public-sector workers say bills advancing in the Florida Legislature, if passed, will strip them of their representation and could also do the same for academic freedom.

Speaking in committee last week, Florida State University associate professor of religion Joseph Hellweg said he used to recruit for his union – United Faculty of Florida – and heard a variety of reason why some of his colleagues chose not to pay their dues.

He said he disagrees with the proposal that would require 60% instead of 50% of workers eligible for union representation be dues-paying members in order for the union to remain certified.

“You will essentially be attacking workers’ freedoms, not defending them,” said Hellweg. “And I fear that one reason for this bill is in fact to undermine academic freedom by ending tenure, which could happen since UFF is the only reason tenure exists.”

State Sen. Blaise Ingoglia – R-Spring Hill – sponsors the bill, which would also remove the automatic deductions of dues from union member paychecks – claiming it would promote more face-to-face conversations with their union representatives.

Opponents have also criticized the bill because the changes does not apply to unions for law enforcement, correctional officers, probation officers or firefighters.

President of the Florida Education Association Andrew Spar said Senate Bill 256 limits teachers’ freedoms, and he believes Gov. Ron DeSantis is retaliating against those who speak up.

“By being that group of individuals who speak out for students, they have become a target,” said Spar. “This governor has made it clear, he targets anyone that he believes is in his way or anyone that speaks out against what he wants to do.”

The proposals are no stranger to union advocates. It’s simply the latest version of similar legislation that has been introduced by Florida lawmakers since at least 2011.

The difference is that Republicans have control over both of Florida’s chambers, so it is expected to pass.

The proposals could affect more than 150,000 working people in Florida who are represented by unions.

¿Podría legislación para sindicatos amenazar la libertad académica?

Unions Florida Legislature

Los lideres sindicales y los trabajadores del sector publico dicen que los proyectos de ley que avanzan en la Legislatura de Florida, si se aprueban, les despojaran de su representacion y podrian hacer lo mismo con la libertad academica.

Joseph Hellweg, profesor de la Universidad Estatal de Florida, dijo la semana pasada ante el comite que solia reclutar miembros para el sindicato de la Facultad Unida de Florida, y que escucho diversas razones por las que algunos de sus colegas decidian no pagar sus cuotas.

Hellweg no esta de acuerdo con la propuesta que exige que el 60%, en lugar del 50%, de los trabajadores con derecho a representacion sindical paguen cuotas para que el sindicato siga certificado.

“En esencia, estaran atacando las libertades de los trabajadores, no defendiendolas,” asegura Hellweg. “Y me temo que una de las razones de este proyecto de ley es, socavar la libertad academica acabando con la titularidad, lo que podria suceder ya que el sindicato es la unica razon por la que existe la permanencia.”

El senador republicano Blaise Ingoglia, de Spring Hill, patrocina el proyecto de ley, que tambien eliminaria las deducciones automaticas en cuotas de nominas para los miembros de los sindicatos, alegando que promoveria mas conversaciones cara a cara con sus representantes sindicales.

Los opositores tambien han criticado el proyecto de ley porque los cambios no se aplican a sindicatos para aplicar la ley a funcionarios de prisiones, agentes de libertad condicional o bomberos.

El presidente de la Asociacion de Educacion de Florida, Andrew Spar, dice que el proyecto de ley 256 del Senado limita las libertades de los maestros, y cree que el gobernador Ron DeSantis esta tomando represalias contra los que hablan.

“Al ser un grupo de individuos que hablan a favor de los estudiantes, se han convertido en un objetivo,” dice Spar. “Este gobernador lo ha dejado claro, apunta a cualquiera que crea que se interpone en su camino o a cualquiera que hable en contra de lo que el quiere hacer.”

Las propuestas no son extranas para los defensores de los sindicatos. Es simplemente la ultima version de una legislacion similar que han presentado los legisladores de Florida desde al menos 2011.

La diferencia es que los republicanos tienen el control de las dos camaras de Florida, por lo que se espera que se apruebe. Las propuestas podrian afectar a mas de 150, 000 trabajadores de Florida que estan representados por sindicatos.

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