DeSantis Challenges the Idea of Teachers’ Unions With Proposed New Changes

Leonard Zhukovsky /
Leonard Zhukovsky /

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is tired of seeing teachers having their union dues taken directly from their paychecks. From his position, he doesn’t believe many teachers are finding worth in their union, and now wants to make teachers decide about the union for themselves.

At a December 20th education retreat, DeSantis spoke extensively about his “Freedom Blueprint” education plan. He unveiled his plans to change how their dues are paid during the 2023 legislative sessions. For many, this may not be the most desirable, but for many it makes sense.

Under his plan, he will be advocating for the end of a requirement for dues to be taken directly from the paychecks of educators. Instead, he wants to obligate the teachers to pay the unions directly themselves. The main goal of this proposal is to get these educators to think about their unions, and what they are doing for them. DeSantis wants them to question their value.

Laura Zorc, a former Florida school board member and executive director of Building Education for Students Together, a group that focuses on parents’ rights spoke with the Daily Caller News Foundation about the proposal. “If teachers had to write the check directly to the union, they will be more likely to question every month if it’s really worth the money. Once forced with this decision many will realize it’s a waste of money and pocket their own hard-earned cash.”

His outlook on unions isn’t surprising. In the 2021-2022 election season major teachers’ unions National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) were widely invested in elections across the nation. Their support dollars largely went towards left-sided candidates and groups.

It also comes on the heels of unions preparing teachers and districts across the nation for Critical Race Theory, as well as gender identity lessons through summer reading lists and curriculum. Many teachers as well as parents are having a tough time with this, as well as the liberal agenda shoving them down the throats of students, parents, and teachers from coast to coast.

Back in August, the NEA suggested, “Why We Fly” to students. This book is based on the decision to kneel for the anthem by some students instead of standing for it. The Ohio chapter also provided all teachers with badges in September to let students know that they are LGTBQ+ allies as well. Needless to say, these measures were not met without opposition.

The “Freedom Blueprint” has bits of HB 1197 in it. This piece of legislation was proposed back in 2021, and also suggested the removal of the option for teachers to have dues removed from their paychecks automatically. Unfortunately, this died off in Rules back in March 2022. Bringing it back to the table would bring more attention to the issue, and get these educators to make the decisions for themselves.

Elisabeth Messenger is the interim CEO of Americans for Fair Treatment, and also spoke to DCNF. As the head of a group focused on educating employees on their rights within unions, she has a special interest in the issue.

“Automatic dues deduction uses government resources to make it easier for unions to recruit and retain members and creates confusion for workers who may think their workplace union is endorsed by their employer or that membership is required by their employer. In signing this legislation, Governor DeSantis would be taking a huge step in protecting teachers’ private information and ensuring the Florida state government is not a middleman in funding partisan politics.”

Making dues become a manually paid piece of their career would not only force teachers to decide for themselves about the unions, but it would also hold them more accountable for how they are using their money. Additionally, it would show the kids they are teaching about making decisions that are in their best interests and not just the interests of the majority.