September 14, 2011 Contact: Mark Pudlow 850.201.3223 or 850.508.9756
Jacqui Sisto 850.228.5443 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Education Association (FEA) and the Sarasota Classified/Teachers Association (SC/TA), on behalf of teachers throughout the state, filed a lawsuit today in Circuit Court in Tallahassee contending that provisions of a bill passed earlier this year by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott are unconstitutional because they deny teachers their right to effective collective bargaining on wages and terms and conditions of employment.
The lawsuit asserts that the Legislature enacted legislation that was unconstitutional when that body passed SB 736, which substantially changed wages, employment contracts, performance evaluations, promotions and workforce reduction provisions that had been previously negotiated between teachers and local school districts.
“These changes swept away the right of employees to negotiate their wages and terms and conditions of employment, a right that is guaranteed and protected by the Florida Constitution,” said FEA President Andy Ford. “The changes that lawmakers pushed through should have been collectively bargained between school districts and teachers.”
Members of the FEA are named plaintiffs in the lawsuit, as well as members of SC/TA, which is an independent teachers union not affiliated with FEA.
“The provisions of SB 736 radically transform the teaching profession – and not for the better,” said Cory Williams, a middle school social studies teacher from Sarasota County. “The expertise and knowledge of teachers have been ignored throughout this process and our constitutional rights have been trampled. We must turn to the court to tell the Legislature and the governor that they cannot simply take away the rights that are embedded in the Florida Constitution.”
All materials filed this morning are available at http://www.meyerbrookslaw.com/Litigation.htm.
The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with more than 140,000 members. FEA represents pre K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational support professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.