On the Struggle in F;orida

Report on the Struggle in Florida and Request for Support
From PaulOrtiz, United Faculty of Florida

From: Paul Ortiz <ortizprof@gmail.com>
Date: May 16, 2023 at 03:16:03 EDT
Subject: Labor Update from Florida, Announcement of Union Lawsuit Against Governor DeSantis
Dear Colleagues,

Many of you have contacted me in recent days about the tyrannical, anti-union legislation being passed by the DeSantis regime in Florida. I am providing a brief response to assure you that the United Faculty of Florida (FEA/AFL-CIO) is engaged in a massive struggle against the governor and his ruling class supporters. Unfortunately, this struggle is not generally well covered in the corporate media, reason being, the Wall Street Journal, and conservative voices across the nation hold out the hope that DeSantis might serve as a “reasonable alternative” to Donald Trump.

Due to the fact that thousands of students, faculty, unionized workers and our allies raised their voices last year, we achieved a federal court temporary injunction against Florida's “Stop Woke Act” that is still holding strong. Our local union chapter, UFF-UF took part in a successful boycott of Florida's discriminatory “viewpoint discrimination” survey last spring. In response to DeSantis's efforts to ban AP African American Studies during Black History Month, our union co-sponsored a 3-hour teach in on Black Studies. Even as we successfully resisted efforts to completely destroy tenure in Florida, defend gender studies and shared governance at UF, our union took time out to pass a resolution in support of striking workers at Rutgers University and to send a donation to the strike fund.

Ron DeSantis has learned that he cannot fully control the thoughts and actions of Floridians as long as our public sector unions are standing. Each of our university and college union chapters have strong academic freedom articles in our collective bargaining agreements.  At the University of Florida, our chapter's Article Ten: Academic Freedom and Responsibility is the gem of our collective bargaining contract and a model for higher education union agreements. 

This is why the Republican super-majority in Florida last passed the anti-union SB 256 requiring 60% union membership in our K-12 education locals as well as higher ed chapters