Florida is challenging a threat by the Biden administration to withhold millions of dollars of federal funds in retaliation for a new state law that regulates unions.
Republican Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said Wednesday the state filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration in federal court in Fort Lauderdale. The lawsuit, which names Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and acting Labor Secretary Julie Su, among other administration officials, seeks an injunction to prevent the administration from withholding millions of dollars of transportation funding.
“Florida passed laws to protect workers from being strong-armed by unions,” Moody said in a news release. “[President Joe] Biden, intent on driving our country into the ground, continues to try to force states to implement his bad policies.
“As long as I am Florida’s attorney general, Washington will never decide how we run our state. We’re pushing back against this overreach to protect our state’s autonomy and Florida workers.”
The Biden administration has taken issue with a Florida law, passed in March and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in May, that made changes to collective bargaining in the state. The law allows union members to revoke their membership at any time and prohibits public employers from deducting union fees from employee paychecks.
The lawsuit claims the Biden administration is using an unconstitutional interpretation of the Federal Transit Act to withhold the funding, which the state said amounts to $800 million. Under the act, such funding has been subject to certain conditions. Although the Federal Transit Administration awards funding, the Department of Labor administers the conditions, including that grant agreements “shall include provisions that may be necessary for the continuation of collective bargaining rights.”
“To be clear, Florida has no intention of abolishing the collective bargaining rights of transportation workers,” the lawsuit states. “The Biden Administration reads the phrase ‘continuation of collective bargaining rights’ in [Section 13 of the act] to mean that Florida cannot enact reasonable regulations governing the collective bargaining process, such as those the Legislature enacted earlier this year in Senate Bill 256. The Department of Labor’s application of [Section 13 of the act] to the State of Florida is flagrantly unconstitutional.”
When reached by Newsmax, the Department of Transportation said it cannot comment on pending litigation. Newsmax also reached out to the Labor Department for comment.
Michael Katz ✉
Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and poltics.
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