Teachers Will Not Strike in Florida

The Florida Constitution and Florida Statues: Chapter 447.505, Prohibit Public Employee Strikes

As nationwide walkouts take place, we see that the decade long attacks on public education, it’s employees and our unions have motivated activists to take action. But in Florida, activist options for teachers and education staff professionals are somewhat limited.

Walking off the job or reporting to work late is not an appropriate action and it comes with harsh consequences. It is important for all FEA members to follow the law.

Both the Florida Constitution and statutes expressly prohibit public employee strikes. A strike is defined broadly to include any concerted action or omission by employees that adversely affects the performance of their duties or the delivery of services by their employer. That includes concerted stoppages and slowdowns, absence from or abstinence of duties, and resignations. Even preparing for, instigating, or supporting a strike is prohibited.

The penalties placed on public employees who strike are swift and severe. If you strike, you can be terminated, action may be brought against your certificate, you will lose all of your retirement benefits, and if you are ever reemployed, it will be on probationary status for 18 months and your salary will be frozen for at least 1 year at the level it was when you began the strike.

Penalties against the union are also harsh. The union will be decertified, lose the right to dues deduction and be penalized the greater of $20,000 a day or the cost to the public for the strike. Additionally, officers and employees could face $50-$100 daily fines.

So as difficult as the times are, we urge you not to be misled into taking action which could potentially harm you personally and the local and state organizations which represent you. In other words, do not strike or take other illegal actions.

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