Florida Unions Withdraw from Banks that Support Chamber of Commerce

In Florida, where Republican lawmakers want to prevent public employee unions from collecting dues through government payroll systems, labor leaders have decided to pull their organizations’ accounts from banks connected to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, a major backer of the initiative.
Unions representing teachers, firefighters, police and other government workers in the central part of the state are withdrawing millions of dollars from five banks whose executives sit on the chamber’s board of directors. Those banks are Bank of America, PNC Bank, Regions Bank, SunTrust and Wachovia.
Labor leaders also are urging their members—about 20,000—to pull their personal accounts from the financial institutions, which they hope will bring the withdrawn total to $10 million.
The chamber has lobbied lawmakers to support the anti-union legislation and run campaign advertisements advocating for it.
Steve Clelland, president of the Orlando firefighters’ union, said, “This is not an attack on business. The very money we deduct is sitting in their banks. Nothing is more American than not doing business with someone who is not serving you well.”
The bill, known as the Paycheck Protection Act, passed the Florida House 73-40 on March 25 and is moving forward in the Senate. The Senate version allows unions to collect dues through deductions, but says those dues cannot be used for political purposes.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Unions Pulling Money from Banks Backing Florida Chamber (by Mark Schlueb, Orlando Sentinel)

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govinthelab.org, Sun Apr 24 2011

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