A union representing Duval County government workers has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a new state law that places additional restrictions on public-employee unions.
Laborers International Union of North America, Local 630, and three individual plaintiffs filed the lawsuit Friday in Jacksonville against Don Rubottom, chairman of the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission; the city of Jacksonville; the municipal utility JEA; and the Duval County School Board.
It is at least the third constitutional challenge filed against the law, which took effect July 1 and includes changes such as preventing union dues from being deducted from workers’ paychecks.
The Jacksonville lawsuit challenges three parts of the law and seeks a preliminary injunction. As an example, it argues that a requirement for union members to fill out government-worded membership forms violates First Amendment rights.
It contends that the forms are unnecessary and inaccurate. Also, the lawsuit takes issue with a decision by the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis to exempt unions representing law enforcement officers, firefighters, and correctional officers from the restrictions.
As an example, in part of the lawsuit challenging the membership forms, it says, “There is no justification for requiring this information on membership applications, nor for requiring it to be provided by disfavored unions but not by favored unions.”
Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, who is based in Tallahassee, refused in late June to issue a preliminary injunction sought by teachers unions against parts of the law.
Similarly, Leon County Circuit Judge J. Lee Marsh declined to issue a preliminary injunction against the dues-deduction change in a case filed by three municipal unions in South Florida and three union members.
Both of those underlying lawsuits remain pending.
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