Education Bill approved by State Senate has local teachers' unions concerned

An education bill approved by the state Senate has local teachers' unions concerned.

The portion of the bill that has unions on edge states that any teacher's union whose participation falls below 50 percent must petition the state to remain certified.

The state says this section was designed to prevent a minority from dictating working conditions for all teachers.

Union representatives say that's simply not the case.

"In a right to work state every person gets to vote on the contract, whether they agree with it or they don't agree with it. The contract is not voted on simply by union members. And so everyone does still have a voice," said Karen McCann, President of the Alachua County Education Association.

State representatives say the bill wasn't created with the intention to destroy unions, but as an incentive for unions to make themselves more attractive to teachers.

Sen. Keith Perry responded, "What you want in any system is you want to have maximum participation. If a union goes below 50 percent membership and they're decertified and have to reapply for recertification, what that would do, in essence, would say to the union they have got to do a better job of communicating and working with teachers. I think the unions could be bigger and better as a result of this."

The bill has been sent back to the house.

The full bill can be read at