In Florida, More Union Revenue Means More Union Politicking
Do higher union revenues lead to better worker representation? Not necessarily in Florida, a new report suggests.
As Americans for Fair Treatment recently revealed, the Florida Education Association saw a steady increase in revenue between 2019 and 2021. This increase did not, however, boost worker representation.
Instead, the Florida Education Association spent more than $5 million on political activities and lobbying, primarily to the benefit of one political party:
- Of the association’s 62 political endorsements, 57 were for Democratic candidates
- $85,000 went directly to the Florida Democratic Party
- Nearly $1 million went to political action committees that gave heavily to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee
The association also paid half its revenue to affiliated unions, such as the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, which are known for funding left-leaning political causes. A 2022 analysis found that the National Education Association spent twice as much on politics as it did on members.
Florida workers pay union dues expecting the organization to act in their best interest. They may be disheartened to learn how much of their hard-earned dues money goes toward politicking, including causes and candidates that may not reflect workers' personal values. State legislation could offer much-needed change.
HB 1445, slated to be heard on the Florida House floor in coming weeks, would ensure that employees are fully informed about the costs of union membership. Employees would also be able to exercise their First Amendment right to opt out of their union at any time, a provision that puts decision-making power back into the hands of Florida workers.
Deciding whether or not to join a union is a personal, professional and financial decision. Workers deserve the right to make a fully informed choice on their own terms, and HB 1445 is a crucial step toward making that possible.