During May 2023, Florida passed Senate Bill 256, which:
- Requires a public employee who desires to be a member of an employee organization to sign a membership authorization form beginning on a specified date
- Requires an employee organization to revoke a public employee’s membership upon receipt of his or her written request for revocation
- Prohibits certain employee organizations from having dues and uniform assessments deducted and collected by the employer from certain salaries
- Revises requirements for applications for initial registrations and renewals of registration of employee organizations
- Revises prohibitions for employee organizations and certain persons and entities relating to employee organizations
AFFT’s Special Counsel, David Osborne, shared a Bill Analysis and Fiscal Summary, along with an explanation of how this legislation will directly impact some public employees, like teachers and school employees.
This legislation addresses aspects of recertification of a union. Here’s how that would work:
- If the union falls below 60% membership, decertification of the union is not automatic. PERC (Public Employee Relations Commission) will initiate an election if membership falls below 60%. Then, bargaining unit members will vote on whether to keep the union or not.
- How will PERC know when to initiate the election? Each year, the union has to file a recertification report to PERC with the number of bargaining unit members, the number of union members, and the number of dues-paying union members.
- From there, PERC determines if the 60% membership threshold has been reached. Within one month of the union filing the recertification report, PERC will announce that an election needs to be held.
- There are not specific criteria on how soon the actual election must be held. Results of the election will be determined based on the number of individuals who actually vote in the election- not based on the number of bargaining unit members.
There have been some questions as to what would happen if the union was not recertified during a valid contract. At this time, the legislation is not clear on whether the contract would stay in place until its expiration date or if it would be nullified when the union is decertified. As the new registration requirements are now in place for unions across the state, PERC could likely see this question arise. It’s also possible that this issue could come before the courts.