DeSantis Goes After Union Bosses, Calls for Paycheck Protection Legislation

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spoke at an event called “The Freedom Blueprint: DeSantis Education Agenda School Board Retreat” on Monday and announced his support for “paycheck protection” legislation.

DeSantis explains that he wants the protections to prevent the government from automatically deducting union dues from teacher paychecks. Instead, the governor said teachers would need to write checks to the unions to preserve their freedom to choose what to do with their pay.


“First of all, you totally, you do not have to join teachers union. But if you do, the government, we don’t want to play a role in deducting anybody’s money, so you write every month for the dues, and you do it that way. That maximizes freedom to choose. And I think it’ll be a more accurate reflection of who wants to be a part of this or not.”

Republicans proposed legislation earlier this year, allowing public employees to choose whether or not they want to join public sector unions. To do this, it required employees to annually reauthorize union dues and consent to participate in a union at all.

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Besides protecting choice, DeSantis noted that paycheck protection would reduce the influence and ill-begotten legitimacy of public sector unions in school board races.


“But they’ll dress them up as if they’re reflecting the community’s values, and it’s hard to know as a voter because you get this information, this literature, being sent to you that’s union-funded. And it seems like the candidates are good and saying the right things, and then obviously once they get on the school board, they basically vote left, which is not consistent with the values of those communities.”

One observer on Twitter theorized how the legislation might have the cooling effect DeSantis is looking for.

DeSantis also noted that, even if employees want to join, it’s simply not the government’s job to pay union dues on behalf of its employees.


“First of all, you totally, you do not have to join teachers union. But if you do, the government, we don’t want to play a role in deducting anybody’s money so you write every month for the dues and you do it that way”

This is not DeSantis’s first foray into school board politics. Over the midterms, he leaned into school board politics, endorsing 30 candidates, with 24 claiming victory.

“This is really. I think just the beginning. I think what we’ve been able to do is show that these races matter,” DeSantis said.

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“You’re already seeing some of these school boards making big changes in their school districts, which I think is very, very encouraging to see people wanting to reform.”

DeSantis also said that while he expects significant pushback to the legislation, it’s well worth it whenever it arrives.

“So these are important fights going forward. I think a lot of the teachers unions were surprised at how much effort all of us put into these races,” DeSantis said. “Well, guess what they’re going to do? They’re going to double down and they’re going to come at it even harder, guns blazing, because this is an entrenched interest that they get their money from being able to be involved in these systems.And we’re going to do all those things to make sure we have really good people in the classroom,”

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