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Protestors flood Florida Capitol to decry budget cuts, actions against unions

The first floor of Florida’s Capitol was flooded with hundreds of protestors delivering pink slips to Gov. Rick Scott today. #

They chanted: “Pink slip Rick!” “Fire Tricky Ricky!” “Where are the jobs?” #

Capitol police closed the door to the governor’s office, saying the commotion was making it difficult for employees inside to concentrate. Scott himself was far away, visiting the St. Lucie County Career Center, Florida Atlantic University and a Heritage Foundation leadership dinner at the Four Seasons in Palm Beach. #

Some of the protestors were members of community groups and campaigns representing the unemployed. Many were members of labor unions, who came to protest budget cuts, the privatization of state hospitals and bills moving through the legislature they said were anti-union. #

Sonya Roundtree, a school bus driver and chair of her local Service Employees International Union chapter in Pinellas County, said she had a problem with Senate Bill 830, which places new restrictions on unions’ political activities and ends the practice of automatic dues deductions from state the payroll. #

“I think they’re trying to starve the unions,” she said. #

Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Heathrow, sponsor of the House version, said when the measure passed that it would “empower” union members by requiring unions to seek their approval for political expenditures. #

When the chanting and shouting died down, Roundtree described what it’s like to be the chair of a local union chapter. Members make political decisions as a group, with input from all the members. If she took positions they didn’t like, she said, she would risk losing her position. #

“They elected me,” she said. “They voted me in, and they can vote me out.” #

Gov. Scott, she added, is in a similar position. #

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