A Volusia County teachers union may soon be forced to close

A Volusia County teachers union may soon be forced to close

A new state law mandates union membership be at least 60-percent for the union to continue operating and the Volusia United Educators, or VUE, could be dipping below that.

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However, union representatives said the recertification process is between them and the state and they feel blindsided by a recent move by the school board.

“Quite frankly, the board has inserted themselves in a process where they do not have a role and we believe it is intentional and it is malicious,” said VUE President Elizabeth Albert.

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The school district notified the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission, or PERC, that union representation did not meet the threshold in time for recertification.

In a statement to Eyewitness News, a district spokesperson said: “The certification VUE turned in did not reconcile with their PERC filing, and our legal representative responded to their recertification petition to provide PERC with the information we had from VUE’s solidarity reports. It was an accounting of information only and a timeline. There is an obligation for districts to do their due diligence to ensure that statute is followed.”

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Albert said according to the Florida Education Association, Volusia United Educators is the only union in the state dealing with this issue.

She added if a union does not maintain 60-percent membership, there is an option for an election. She believes if there is an opportunity to take that step, the union would be safe.

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“This current situation has led to an absolute new momentum and revitalization of our recruitment efforts and we have people knocking at our door to join,” said Albert.

The union maintains that the only reason membership has fallen recently, is because the union can no longer obtain dues through payroll deduction, so it is in a transition period.

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