FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – The Ft. Lauderdale Police Fraternal Order of Police said they are being forced to take action so the hard-earned money of their membership is not used to play politics.
It’s termed ‘paycheck protection’ and it’s a movement pushed by the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Republicans to stop automatic deductions for union dues for police and firefighters.
“To give employees a say in how those union dues are spent, because right now they don’t have a say,” said David Gobeo with the Republican Party of Broward County. “(The money) can be going toward political contributions for things that say half the members are not in favor of.”
Police unions, however, are furious with the measure police unions are furious, saying this is nothing more than union busting. Putting their words into action, on Monday the Ft. Lauderdale FOP notified Bank of America that they were going to withdraw their funds because the bank supports the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
Professor Charles Zelden with Nova Southeastern University said the ‘paycheck protection’ bills moving through the legislature in Tallahassee are a Republic union busting tactic. He said if the union’s members have to write a check each month, it could very well weaken the union’s power financially and politically.
“All of a sudden, it becomes more difficult, the checks come later, you forget, you’re short this month, what are you going to cut out, all of a sudden the union doesn’t have the money it had before,” said Zelden.
“I don’t believe that’s a fair accusation. It may be a side consequence of it, however the goal of the bill is to help employees, it is not just simply to break unions,” said Gobeo.
FOP member Jack Lokeinsky said Bank of America’s claims that it supports the Chamber of Commerce commitment to economic develop and job creation is hypocritical.
“They say my members don’t have a say in where my money goes, but Bank of America has contributed hundreds in just 2010 alone and as a stake holder, they never asked me,” said Lokeinsky.
Lokeinsky points out that in the last two years their FOP Lodge has not spent any dues on campaign contributions. On the other hand, Bank of America, spent at least $180,000 on campaigns in Florida during the past year.
The Ft. Lauderdale FOP isn’t alone. Their movement is growing and is soon expected to include the unions which represent law enforcement officers in Miami-Dade County and the Broward Sheriff’s Office.