June 21, 2011
Florida Public Employees Update: State and Federal Constitutional Complaints
A controversial Florida statute, spearheaded by Governor Rick Scott, mandating state employees to contribute 3% to their pension funds is the subject of a complaint filed in state court.
The complaint contends that the legislative change violates the Florida Constitution: the contract clause, Article I, section 10; the takings clause, Article X, section 6; and the right to collectively bargain, Article I section 6.
The Article I, section 6 claim is based on Florida's "right to work" constitutional provision:
The right of persons to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or non-membership in any labor union or labor organization. The right of employees, by and through a labor organization, to bargain collectively shall not be denied or abridged. Public employees shall not have the right to strike.
Earlier this month, Governor Scott suspended his executive order relating to a different right of public employees, a right to be free from unreasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment. The executive order provided for mandatory random drug testing; public employees filed a complaint and request for preliminary injunction in federal court in Miami, but there has not yet been a ruling.
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