Gov. DeSantis signs changes to last year’s ‘union busting’ legislation
Image via AP.

The change will exempt additional public sector unions, such as 911 operators and transit workers.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed legislation updating a law implemented last year barring certain public sector unions from automatically deducting dues from workers’ paychecks and requiring a higher threshold of union participation to remain certified.

His signature came in package of 25 other signed bills Friday.

The bill (SB 1746) exempts emergency medical technicians, 911 operators and mass transit workers from last year’s law, which requires 60% of workers to be union members in order for the union to remain certified. The law also requires additional reporting for unions.

Democrats were overwhelmingly opposed to the law when it was introduced and ultimately approved last year, noting that it amounted to union busting. They specifically noted that last year’s bill targeted teachers’ unions, while exempting law enforcement and firefighter unions. Teachers’ unions tend to support Democrats for office, while the public safety sector often supports GOP candidates.

Sen. Tina Polsky, this year, again fired back at the legislation noting that it “seems like it’s punitive just to make it harder” to join a union and for the union to maintain its status.

She and other Democrats voted in favor of an amendment to this year’s bill from Sen. Joe Gruters, a Republican, that would have eliminated the requirement to use a membership form issued by the Public Employees Relations Commission in order to remove a duplicative form requirement. Gruters argued there was “no rationale for having unions complete two membership forms.”

But bill sponsor Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, a Republican, said it was “the only form that has the information that is just prescribed by law” and the amendment failed 14-22, with Democrats joining Gruters in support.

The Florida Education Association (FEA) immediately criticized lawmakers for passing the bill and DeSantis for signing it, noting that what legislators should have done this Session — “significant increases in funding” for schools, cost of living increases and addressing the teacher shortage — is not what they bothered with.

“Instead, Florida’s leaders continue to stand in the way of workers fighting for a better life by doubling down on last year’s anti-freedom bill by requiring a form full of anti-union propaganda be filled out by 60% of eligible employees or the union risks decertification,” the union wrote in a lengthy statement. “This law would require hard working teachers, education staff professionals, and professors to get permission from the state to be a union member — something that is not required to join any other organization in the state.”

They also called DeSantis out for hypocrisy.

“For a Governor so focused on personal freedoms, this law smacks of government intrusion and bureaucratic red tape that actually limits the personal freedoms of workers in our state,” they wrote. 

“While we thank the leaders in our legislature who stood up for workers and stood with voters by calling out the glaring hypocrisies with targeting this law at some workers but not others, it’s painfully obvious that Florida is only a free state for some.”

The bill takes effect immediately.


Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


  • Julia

    March 22, 2024 at 4:54 pm

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  • Dont Say FLA

    March 22, 2024 at 5:09 pm

    Unions are just one more reason the G0P keeps the USA’s Southern border with Mexico, and by extension Central America and South America, wide open and keeps the guns & ammo train headed southbound, displacing warm, easily controlled bodies Northbound

    If ever the G0P were to allow the border to be closed, unions would regain the power they had when America was so great. And that ain’t happening if the G0Ps can help it.

    The open border is the G0P’s solution, not their problem.

  • rick whitaker

    March 22, 2024 at 6:42 pm


  • Andy

    March 23, 2024 at 6:54 am

    All the units that were lost under this bill when it passed last year , were basically non union anyway. The membership was low and the contracts were weak.
    It comes down to the workers wanting a union and good organizing… then signing people up on an a different platform to pay their dues is no different then when they had to sign a card to join the union. It’s a lot of work at 1st but over time it will be as automatic as payroll deduction… So don’t whine just organize!!!!

    • S. Wabbit

      March 24, 2024 at 12:14 pm

      Twue that.

  • FLPatriot

    March 25, 2024 at 9:26 am

    This has become nothing but an attack on educational workers. If it were truly about “paycheck protection” he wouldn’t be exempting everyone except teachers and staff.

  • John L

    March 25, 2024 at 11:00 am

    If it was such a good idea for all workers, then why did he exempt his faithful followers police and firemen? Fascist leaders always use government policy to punish enemies and reward loyalty. Maybe we can give Desantis total immunity that trump wants so he can execute political rivals without any consequences. GOP has given up following the law or the Constitution.

Comments are closed.


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