Just days ago the Florida Legislature passed a law that targeted “instructional personnel” unions. That’s right: the other public employee unions that exist in our state – police, fire, nurses, etc. – are all exempt from this law. It is an attack on teachers and ESP’s, just when we need the support of our elected officials the most.
HB 7055 is a massive 200-page bill that will become law once signed by the governor. The section we’re dealing with today is the two paragraphs in the law that require unions to annually submit the number of dues paying members along with the number of potential members to Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC) when we file papers to renew our union’s certification as bargaining agent.
Our union is the target of this law because our membership level is below 50%. If we do not get above this threshold the MESP can be decertified and we could lose our right to bargain and our hard fought collectively bargained contract.
When our union falls below the 50% threshold, the law will require us to petition PERC for recertification and hold an election to win back our exclusive bargaining rights; otherwise, we will be decertified and lose our bargaining rights.
The very things in our contract that we have fought for over the years are in jeopardy, such as:
Progressive Wage Schedule
Fully Paid Health Insurance Plan
Worksite Representation / Liability Protection
Professional Development Stipend
Shared Sick Leave Ability
Bereavement Leave Options
New Employee Orientation
And much more…
We must work together to recruit new members so that we do not lose our right to collectively bargain and protect our contract. Ask your colleagues who are not members to join our union. Let them know what is at stake. You can also make sure you, your friends and family vote to help elect candidates who will support public education.
Click here to find a membership application. If you talk to a colleague and they join return it to “MESP” in the courier with your name on Local Association Representative line and I will give you $20 as a recruitment bonus!
Our union family is working hard every day to protect your rights, and support and grow our membership. Our state and national affiliates are deploying resources to help locals strengthen their membership. They are also putting all potential options on the table for consideration. That means all organizing, legal and political options.
I know these are very trying times for us all, and especially our students. Please join me in keeping up the good fight. We are going to continue to advocate for what is right and fair for you and your students.
Donnie Prophet, MESP President
P.S. Some final thoughts from a friend of mine…
“Once 7055 passes, it will no longer be the Florida legislature that busts unions and strips teachers and education support professionals of their contracts. It will be every teacher and education support professional who still refuses to take a stand with their colleagues by joining the union. This is no longer about saving dues money. It is about saving the rights, benefits and guarantees of a union-negotiated contract.”
Rick Kuplinski, Educator and Union Member