House Democratic Caucus Members respond to legislative attack on public employee unions

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House Democratic Caucus members on Friday debated and voted against House Bill 1021, a Republican-sponsored measure that would prohibit the automatic payroll deduction of union dues from public employees?paychecks.

The bill would require unions to get written permission from members before their dues can be used for political contributions. Democratic Caucus members argued, among other points, that the apparent purpose of the bill is to eliminate public employee unions.

The following are some of their remarks during today? debate:

Rep. Joseph Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach: ?he intent of this legislation is to target and weaken one group, public employee unions. The collection of union dues is not a broken process and does not need to be fixed.?

Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth: ?veryday, I walk in this building and ask, `Who are we sticking it to today? So far, we?e compiling quite a list. We?e stuck it to the unemployed, to teachers, to public employees, women, and now we?e sticking it to unions.?

Rep. Franklin Sands, D-Weston: ?ou have said that you resent the connotation that this bill is a union-busting bill. Resent away, but at the end of the end it truly is a union-busting bill.?

Rep. Luis Garcia, D-Miami: ?his is nothing but a bill to prohibit unions to express their political will?his is un-American. We?e losing our freedoms.?

Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton: ?t feels like everyone woke up one day and decided that unions are our enemies. That unions are leeches and need to be eliminated from the system

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.