Mar 23, 2011 3:13 PM GMT
It may have started in Wisconsin but it's been spreading. In Florida, it's all about the union dues.
Three bills that are advancing in Florida’s statehouse are pushing faculty union leaders to ramp up organizing efforts this semester to stave off the extinction of several chapters.
One of the bills would require a majority of faculty members to officially join unions -- and it would decertify the unions if they did not cross that threshold. At many campuses, a majority of faculty are not members, and signing up would require them to have 1 percent of their salaries deducted for union dues.
“It’s a race against time,” said Tom Auxter, a professor of philosophy at the University of Florida and president of United Faculty of Florida, which represents faculty members at 22 public campuses and is affiliated with the Florida Education Association, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and the AFL-CIO. If passed, the three bills would go into effect July 1. “We’re firing up all the engines to get people signed up,” he said. “The lesson for unions is organize or die.”