Florida House Keeps Up to Attacks on Public Workers' Freedom and Rights

Tallulah Thomas a Behavioral Program Specialist with the Developmental Disabilities Defendant Program at Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee released the following statement on behalf of her union, AFSCME Florida, following the passage of HB25:

“As a dedicated state employee, this bill is an attack on me personally and on the freedom and rights of all of my coworkers. House Bill 25 would silence us by taking away our voice through collective bargaining and would strip our right to choose if we want to be in a union or not.

“No one knows better what equipment is needed to fight fires than a fire fighter, no one knows better what our children need in the classroom than a teacher and no one knows what protections are needed when dealing with the high-risk patients I have to deal with than I do. But this legislation is saying our voices are not important because we do not have the freedom to speak up through coming together and bargaining.

“Requiring workers to vote regularly on whether to have their terms of employment set through negotiation would be like having citizens vote regularly on whether to have a representative form of government. AFSCME members already vote regularly on who will lead our union—just as citizens vote on who will represent them in government—and those employees also vote on the terms negotiated by their leaders in contract ratification. Our rights should not be taken away just because we are public employees.”