Response from the head of the teachers union to DeSantis' proposal to limit union activity
The president of the teachers' union in Miami-Dade responded on Tuesday to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' proposal for education that would limit union engagement.
As part of his education platform, which he laid out in Jacksonville on Monday, DeSantis has taken on teacher unions across the state. He underlined that the teacher unions in the state need to be more transparent.
According to Karla Hernandez-Mats, president of the United Teachers of Dade, "For a governor to laud education, but it is a backhanded boast because he is really destroying it by taking away courses, by underfunding and defunding public education."
DeSantis' plan for politics in public education calls for cutting the term limits for school board members from 12 to 8 years and turning them into partisan contests. Board members do not yet identify their political party.
On the union front, the governor recommended banning all union-related activities and the distribution of union flyers on public school grounds, ending the practice of collecting union dues from teachers' paychecks, and prohibiting union executives from earning more than the highest-paid union member.
Desantis observed that some union wages, some exceeding $100,000, are also far more than the typical teacher base salary, which is expected to increase to roughly $48,000 in Florida.
That is one of his talking points, Hernandez-Mats said. "First of all, this is a private business; it is not supported by government monies. And how do we ensure that all teachers receive appropriate pay is what he ought to be discussing, right?
Rep. Tom Fabricio, a Republican from Miami-Dade, wants to put some distance between labor unions and schools.
"They won't be affected by it if they're not doing anything that's touched by this proposed law," he added. But the concept is that during school hours, those structures, those facilities are there to educate children, and that is what is supposed to be happening, not union organizing.
These ideas will probably be discussed and decided upon at the upcoming legislative session in March.