🎥 2018 Legislative Update: Week 4

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Heroes! Union-busting villains are back in our week four legislative update.

In this update we, cover legislators restricting revenue for public programs, the HB 1 “Bully Bill,” anti-immigrant legislation, and HB 7055 the massive new attack to defund public education and bust up teachers’ unions.

Call 855.235.2469 and enter your zip code NOW to be connected with your local Florida Representative. Leave them with the message that they need to stand up for our public schools, our students, and our teachers by voting NO on HB 7055.

“This isn’t freedom. We’re holding a gun to every citizen’s head and calling it security.” – Captain America

🚨LEG ALERT: FL House Attacks Public Education…Again

Florida House Leadership is at it again, and this time they’re directly attacking our state’s teachers, students, and public schools.

As soon as next week, the Florida House will vote on HB 7055, a massive last minute education bill full of poorly vetted policies aimed at defunding public education in our state and busting up teachers unions.

Call 855.235.2469 and enter your zip code NOW to be connected with your local Florida Representative. Leave them with the message that they need to stand up for our public schools, our students, and our teachers by voting NO on HB 7055.

Hidden in this legislation is the same public union-busting language that House leadership rammed through the process last week. HB 7055 specifically strips our state’s educators and staff from having a voice on the job.

HB 7055 also sets up a system that tells children who have been bullied to simply leave their public school and go somewhere else. Rather than focusing on programs that directly combat the problem of bullying in Florida schools, House leaders are using this issue as another means to please their donors and expand the unaccountable for-profit charter school industry in our state.

At over 200 pages, this bill is so big that it also includes provisions to divert hundreds of millions of tax dollars to private, for-profit schools, reduces accountability for student performance, and hurts programs for struggling students.

Call 855.235.2469 NOW and leave your local representative with a message to vote NO on HB 7055. This bill would spell disaster for the future of public education in our state. We need the Florida House to say NO to this massive scheme to bully our students, our schools, and our teachers.

Working People’s Day of Action: Miami and Orlando

On February 24, in cities across the country, thousands will unite to demand an end to an economy that’s rigged in favor of the wealthy and most powerful for a Working People’s Day of Action.

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. joined striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee as they fought for the freedom to join together in a strong union and be treated with dignity and respect at work. Now, fifty years later, as a handful of corporate elites, divisive extremists and corrupt politicians continue to rig the economy against us, working people and allies nationwide are rising up.

In Florida there are two Working People’s Day of Action events planned in Miami and Orlando. Join us in Miami for a mass mobilization at Bayfront Park. Working people from across Florida will be standing up for the freedom to join together in strong unions and fight for decent and equitable pay for our work, affordable health care, quality schools, vibrant communities, and a secure future for all of us.

Click Here to RSVP for the Miami rally at Bayfront Park on February 24th.

For our sisters and brothers in Central Florida, union members and allies will be holding a special screening of “At the River I Stand,” the powerful documentary chronicling the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike, followed by a workshop and panel on the impacts this pivotal moment in labor and civil rights history still holds to this day. Space is limited for this event, so be sure to RSVP as soon as possible.

Click here to RSVP for the Orlando movie screening on February 24th.

Two days after our day of action, the Supreme Court will hear Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, a case that is the culmination of decades of attacks on working people. The forces behind this case are the same forces that have pushed for limiting voting rights, attacked immigrants, and undermined civil rights protections.

We want to encourage working families from across the state to take part in this powerful day of action. For more information on the day of action visit www.itsaboutfreedom.org.

🎥 2018 Legislative Update: Week 3

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Heroes! Check out our action-packed session update for week 3.

In this week’s video update, we cover Equal Pay Day, heated Florida House debate on the passing of union-busting HB 25, corporate tax loophole legislation, and union heroes storming the halls of the capitol.

“Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.” – Batman

 

Florida House Passes Union-Busting HB 25

In response to the Florida House voting in favor of union-busting HB 25, President of the Florida AFL-CIO, Mike Williams, issued the following statement:

“No worker in Florida asked for this terrible bill, but House leadership still decided it was good public policy to fast-track stripping our teachers, transit workers, nurses, and other public servants from having a voice on the job.

Working people who voiced their bipartisan disgust to union-busting in our state can no longer trust the Florida House to protect their rights in the workplace.

If the thousands of phone calls, packed committee meetings, and face to face office visits from outraged constituents didn’t send a strong enough message to the special interest lawmakers who supported this bill, the response from workers at the ballot box this November certainly will.”

🚨LEG ALERT: FL House to Vote on Union Busting HB 25

The Florida House has put HB 25 on their agenda for this Wednesday, January 24th.

This means the union busting bill that threatens to wipe out Florida public unions and silence the voices of our states teachers, nurses, bus drivers, and many other public servants from negotiating for fair wages and working conditions, will be voted on by this Thursday, January 25th!

The time to let our state representatives know that workers stand strongly opposed to this toxic anti-union bill is NOW. Call (855) 235-2469 and enter your zip code NOW to be connected with your local state representative.

Too many families across Florida are already living paycheck to paycheck, yet Tallahassee politicians want to try and dismantle their union and make things worse for all of us.

HB 25, would silence our neighbors by taking away their voice through collective bargaining and strip them of their right to choose if they want to be in a union or not.

This bill is unnecessary because in Florida it’s already unlawful to force anyone to join a union. Anyone who uses that excuse is misleading our communities.

Make no mistake, this bill is just an attempt by billionaire CEO backed politicians to make it harder for our public servants to come together to advocate for their on the job needs and negotiate to protect their paychecks.

Call (855) 235-2469 to be connected with your state representative NOW. Leave them with the message that you reject this clear assault on workers’ rights and urge them to vote NO onHB 25.

🎥 2018 Legislative Update: Week 2

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Heroes! Check out our legislative update for week 2 of session.

In this week’s video, we cover the Constitution Revision Commission’s attempt to take away fair pay from our local school boards, activists taking action against fracking in Florida, Apprenticeship Week at the capitol, and an important call to action to stop union busting HB 25 that will be voted on this week!

Call 855-235-2469 to be connected with your local representative and tell them to stand with our state’s public workers and vote NO on HB 25.

“There is a right and wrong in the universe. And the distinction is not hard to make.” – Superman

🎥 2018 Legislative Update: Week 1

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Heroes! Watch our first update for the 2018 Florida Legislative Session.

In this episode, we cover how the Florida House is rushing through legislation that attacks workers rights, silences local governments, denies benefits to injured Florida workers, and splits apart our local communities, all while ensuring corporate tax giveaways stay permanent.

Key legislation discussed this week:

Supermajority Vote to Close Loopholes, Exemptions, Raise Revenue (TABOR)

SB 1742 Stargel / HB 7001 by Leek  – OPPOSE

This could be the biggest threat to working families this session.  This bill proposes an amendment to Florida’s Constitution requiring a supermajority vote in both chambers to raise revenues, close current tax exemptions and eliminate corporate tax loopholes.  Florida’s revenue picture is grim right now and state services are suffering across the board.  This proposed constitutional amendment would lock us in at these low levels in perpetuity.  This is another form of the disastrous Tax Payer Bill of Rights (TABOR) public policy that we have fought and defeated in the past.

Federal Immigration Enforcement

SB 308 by Bean / HB 9 by Metz – OPPOSE

This bill is attempting to obstruct the power and authority of local governments to protect the civil rights of their communities; would force local governments and officials to cooperate with federal immigration authorities at a level that is not mandated or funded by the federal government; would authorize the Attorney General to sue local governments and officials who do not comply, and would fine localities up to $5,000 per day for not enforcing the policies.  This isn’t just an attack on immigrant communities, this is another attack on local control, what that could have negative impacts on local budgets and public sector workers everywhere.

Workers’ Compensation                                                                                                                              

HB 7009 by Burgess – OPPOSE

In 2003, citing rising insurance premiums, the legislature radically altered Florida’s workers’ comp system. They slashed benefits for workers, capped attorney’s fees so injured workers couldn’t access the courts, cut retraining programs and many other negative changes impacting workers.  The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that some aspects of the law are unconstitutional (i.e. caps on fees) so the Legislature has to revisit the law.  In addition to protecting access to the courts, we will be pushing for:

  • The ability for injured workers to use the doctor of their choice
  • A reinstatement of training benefits
  • An increase in benefits for workers deemed to have a “permanent total disability” and other changes.

This bill does not address these issues at all and in fact, further diminishes the ability for injured workers to access the courts.  HB 7009 is almost identical to last year’s House bill that we vigorously fought and eventually defeated.  So far the Senate has not offered a comprehensive workers’ comp bill.

🚨LEG ALERT: Stop Union Busting HB 25

The Florida House is ready to vote on HB 25, the union busting bill that threatens to wipe out Florida public unions and silence the voices of our states teachers, nurses, bus drivers, and many other public servants from negotiating for fair wages and working conditions.

House leadership rammed HB 25 through the early committee process with little to no public input. Now they are racing to bring this terrible bill up for a vote as early as this week.

The time to let our state representatives know that workers stand strongly opposed to this toxic anti-union bill is NOW. Call (855) 235-2469 and enter your zip code NOW to be connected with your local state representative.

Too many families across Florida are already living paycheck to paycheck, yet Tallahassee politicians want to try and dismantle their union and make things worse for all of us.

HB 25, would silence our neighbors by taking away their voice through collective bargaining and strip them of their right to choose if they want to be in a union or not.

This bill is unnecessary because in Florida it’s already unlawful to force anyone to join a union. Anyone who uses that excuse to hurt our community is lying.

Make no mistake, this bill is just an attempt by billionaire CEO backed politicians to make it harder for our public servants to come together to advocate for their on the job needs and negotiate to protect their paychecks.

Call (855) 235-2469 to be connected with your state representative NOW. Leave them with the message that you reject this clear assault on workers’ rights and urge them to vote NO on HB 25.

Unions Ready to Defend Workers, Families in FL Legislature

This story was written and recorded by Trimmel Gomes of the Public News Service – FL. Click here to visit their page and hear an audio version of the story. 

January 2, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s Republican lawmakers have resurrected, and say they plan to fast-track, legislation from last year to weaken most labor unions in the state.

Rich Templin, legislative and political director of the Florida AFL-CIO, which represents more than 500 labor union locals, says it’s “almost deja vu” as his team prepares to play defense on behalf of workers in the 2018 legislative session.

As an example, he says House Bill 25 would automatically decertify some unions if more than 50 percent of the workers they represent don’t pay dues to the organization.

“That would make it almost impossible for public sector unions to exist, by placing new barriers and hurdles on their ability to represent their workers and collectively bargain on behalf of all workers,” Templin points out.

Similar to last year, Templin predicts the legislation will clear the House, but its future in the Senate is uncertain.

This 60-day lawmaking session starts next Tuesday.

Republican Rep. Scott Plakon says House Bill 25 is about transparency, but Templin says the bill disrupts labor organizations without concern to the industries that the workers represent, including nurses, housekeepers and teachers.

“Legislative leaders, especially in the House, are determined to continue privatizing Florida’s education system, so we’ll be fighting on that,” Templin points out.

Workers on the front lines of some of the most dangerous jobs, such as firefighting and law enforcement, are eligible for what is known as special risk retirement, which includes early retirement.

Templin says another union goal is to get that benefit extended to 911 dispatchers and health care workers in forensic hospitals.

“So, providing care for very dangerous patients who have been committed, either civilly or through the criminal justice system, he explains. “So, we’re looking to give them the opportunity to have special risk retirement. ”

Florida’s once-every-20-year Constitution Revision Commission is also on Templin’s radar, because of a proposal requiring a two-thirds supermajority vote in both legislative chambers before raising taxes or fees or creating new ones.

He argues the state should have the flexibility to fund critical programs as needed.