Friday, December 23, 2022

FL: Another Shot At Teachers Unions

Ron DeSantis doesn't have time for victory laps. He's busy continuing the project of remaking education in his own image, or at least the image of a political base for conquering the state and, who knows, bigger things. (Okay, everybody knows.) 

With that in mind, DeSantis hosted a star-studded Right Wing Pallooza (Betsy DeVos, Manny Diaz, Richard Corcoran!!) a "Freedom Blueprint" (as always, "freedom" is short for "freedom for the right people and not Those Icky People over there"). 

The headline making part was DeSantis talking about how he's going to continue to do his best to push out school board members who aren't loyal to the correct values (especially the ones that dared to defy him on masking etc). And if you think he plans to be sneak or subtle about this, let me direct your attention to Broward County schools, where he used a technicality to declare a seat "vacant" (the duly elected guy didn't get sworn in in time because he was late getting his civil rights restored after his felony conviction--oh, Florida). 

DeSantis appointed Dan Foganholi to the seat. Foganholi was a previous DeSantis appointee who led the charge to fire the superintendent. Foganholi didn't run for the seat because--fun fact!-- in Florida you can be appointed to a board if you live outside the district, but you can't run for it. He was available because he ran for a commission seat in his actual home area, but lost.

All of that is the marquee stuff, but another part of Freedom Pallooza was to announce a push for teachers to have "paycheck protection." Teachers from other states will recognize this anti-union baloney that forbids districts from doing any automatic deduction of union dues from their paycheck. 

No, nobody ever argues to cut out other paycheck deductions, and the rhetoric with these bills never really explains what the paycheck is being protected from. The more honest complaint is "I don't want my tax dollars paying some employee of the district to do the work of making these deductions work," which in all fairness probably does burn up five or ten cents of taxpayer money each year. Or there's the DeSantis explanation:

“We don’t want to play a role in deducting anybody’s money, so you write [your check] every month for the dues and you do it that way,” DeSantis said. “It’s more of a guarantee that the money is actually going to go to teachers and not be frittered away by interest groups who get involved in the school system.”

Because teacher pay is leaking out of their checks somehow?

Paycheck protection is just about making dues payment a PITA, a technique more effective than ever since most people under 40 don't write more than two or three checks a year because automatic bank drafting is so much easier. Ot maybe the unions will start doing auto bank drafting and DeSantis et al will have lost a golden opportunity to run the old "Look at how much bigger your check would be if dues weren't taken  out of it" for nothing. 

It's just one more small way that state leadership can make teachers' lives a little more irritating, one more stupid piddly thing that happens because your leaders would rather attack you than support you in even the smallest, simplest ways. 

Just remember--when Trump collapses, this is the kind of guy just waiting to pick up the MAGA mantle. 


  1. This has been a bill for a few years by Scott Plakon, and of course it exempts firefighters and police unions. You know, the unions that endorsed DeSantis and generally lean right.

    1. I have always wondered why this wouldn't be considered a violation of fair and equal protection provisions in the Constitution. Wisconsin's Scott Walker got away with these double standards as well.