Fla. Gov. Preaches Austerity, Then Feathers His Nest
March 31, 2011
Matt Meadows, business manager, Gaineseville, Fla., Local 1205, recalls Gov. Rick Scott running for office last fall on a platform of “smaller government.” That was then.
Since his election, Scott, says Meadows, is adding numerous new jobs to his payroll and paying off political supporters, some of whom have little experience in their new fields of responsibility. And Scott has increased the pay scale of 10 department directors by $20,000 a year.
“It’s a kick in the teeth to the blue-collar worker,” says Meadows, whose local represents municipal workers in Taylor County, 50 miles southeast of Tallahassee. State employees haven’t received a raise in more than four years.
While Scott builds up his crew of loyalists, Republicans in the legislature are proposing legislation that would force the decertification of bargaining units in the right-to-work state anytime dues-paying membership drop to less than 50 percent of the work force.
“We’re sending all available staff to the capital to fight this [attack on collective bargaining],” says Meadows, who is concerned that, because the tourism trade is still hurting and the state lacks a sales tax, more public workers will be targeted for cuts in pay and benefits.