Florida House plan cuts paychecks for Thousands 2023

A state Legislature plan may cut the wages of tens of thousands of Floridians, from baseball players to airport workers.

HB 917 would ban local “living wages” regulations like St. Petersburg and Miami-Dade County and allow Major League Baseball to pay minor league players below the minimum wage.

Business interests support the bill. A St. Petersburg corporation unsuccessfully petitioned the Legislature to ban such ordinances last year.

Labor unions and Florida’s counties say it would affect the state’s lowest-paid workers as the cost of living rises.

Since 1999, cities and counties have approved rules requiring contractors to pay workers more than the state’s $11 minimum wage.

The ordinance applies to Miami-Dade County corporations with $100,000 contracts. Over 28,000 workers at over 1,000 organizations must earn $15.03 per hour with health benefits ($18.73 without).

The county said restaurant service, security, cleaning, airport, and healthcare staff are contracted.

According to St. Petersburg, 1,140 contracted workers make at least $15 per hour. 5,000 Broward County residents receive $15 per hour with health coverage.

The AFL-CIO and leftist groups argued eliminating the rule might be disastrous.

“You guys have talked a lot about inflation, the (President Joe) Biden inflation,” AFL-CIO lobbyist Rich Templin told lawmakers on Monday. How is this helping people withstand Biden inflation?

Rep. Brad Yeager, R-New Port Richey, said the labor market will determine pay.

“When a company can’t find workers, they’ll have to raise wages,” he said. “The free market will.”

On Monday, a House committee revised the bill to protect city and county contracts.

State politicians have often attempted to ban such local regulations.

Power Design, a St. Petersburg-based electrical company, helped last year. Since September, the firm has donated $60,000 to Gov. Ron DeSantis and $70,000 to a lobbyist-controlled PAC.

The corporation declined comment.

A DeSantis official said the governor would “decide on the merits of the bill in final form if and when it passes.”

The Florida Chamber of Commerce, other businesses, and key GOP politicians support the proposal this year.

Last week, House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, backed the provision but wasn’t sure it would pass this year.

“Some things belong at the state level and need to be uniform,” Renner added. Wages are one.

HB 917 covered baseball players until Monday. Minor league baseball players might receive below-minimum wages under the law.

In February, the millionaire owner of the Chicago Cubs donated $1 million to DeSantis’ campaign, Substack reporter Jason Garcia said.

Minor league players received at least $20,000 per year in the first MLB negotiating agreement this month. Five-year contract.

SB 892 sponsor Sen. Jonathan Martin, R-Fort Myers, was a Boston Red Sox rookie-league clubhouse attendant. Laundry, vacuuming, and transporting players from hotels to games were his duties.

For the possibility to make hundreds of millions of dollars in the big leagues, baseball players accepted that he made more than them.

Martin called it an extended tryout. Nobody’s famished. Nobody barely survives.”

SB 892 does not ban “living wage” ordinances.

“I like the concept,” Martin remarked Tuesday. Will it make this bill? No idea.”

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