Unions prevail over Tallahassee’s union-busting bill

During this year’s contentious legislative session, Florida lawmakers passed bills that ban abortion at 15 weeks, limit discussions of systemic racism in schools and workplaces, and prohibit classroom discussions about sexual orientation or gender identity. Session ended Monday with legislators passing a $112 billion state budget.

The Florida House of Representatives passed a bill on March 4 that would have undermined the right of public-sector employees, including Jackson Health System workers, to have a union. Healthcare unions across the state immediately mobilized — they sent members to Tallahassee to protest the bill and flooded senators with phone calls urging them to vote “No” on the measure. The Senate ultimately did not take up the bill; it was indefinitely postponed and withdrawn from consideration the second-to-last day of session.

This represents a major victory for working families in Florida. We didn’t do this alone, and we must give credit where it is due. This achievement resulted from a collaboration with Democratic and Republican leaders in Tallahassee who believe in respecting the legal rights of working people and the mission of their unions. 

Governor DeSantis claims that Florida is the freest state in the country, yet he has stripped women of the freedom to control their bodies; curbed free speech surrounding race, sexual orientation, and gender identity; and threatened the rights of workers and their families to keep their unions. 

Thank you to the Democrats and Republicans in the Senate for standing up to this harmful piece of legislation in the face of intense pressure. At a time when our state and country are so politically divided, we are grateful for this show of bipartisan solidarity.

Next session, we hope our elected leaders continue to support our fight and find it within their responsibility to address such critical issues as the housing crisis, the environment, sea-level rise, healthcare for all, Medicaid expansion, and property insurance rates. 

SEIU Local 1991 thanks all the members — Republicans, NPAs and Democrats alike — who called their South Florida Senators in opposition of the bill. Our work is not done. This union-busting bill has been proposed session after session for at least the last decade. We will remain vigilant of efforts that threaten your right to have a voice through your union. We truly are stronger together.

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