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Scott sides with big business — again

Roger Caldwell | 6/27/2013, 9:36 a.m.

Eighty percent of Floridians support paid sick leave, but our governor finds himself on the wrong side of the majority and refuses to listen. It is a fact that our governor lost the lawsuit for the Affordable Care Act, and now he is refusing $51 billion from the federal government to expand Medicaid and set up the healthcare exchange. When Governor Rick Scott was asked to approve the construction of the speed rail, he refused, and now there are four lawsuits in the court that he is fighting.

With the U.S. being the most overworked industrialized country in the world, it would seem that corporate leadership would work to improve the working conditions in the workplace. But instead of making it easier for workers, they are eliminating workers and making their employees work harder. Many of these large corporate giants are sitting on the largest profits in their history, but they refuse to share their profits with their employees.

In Florida last week, Scott signed a bill that would block local governments from enacting paid sick leave laws. He sided with Walt Disney World, Darden Restaurants, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and a broad array of other powerful corporations. These corporations argued that the law would hurt their profits, drive off new businesses, and destroy job creation.

In 2012 more than 50,000 Orange County voters tried to place the sick time measure on the November ballot, but it was blocked by the County Commission. After the sick time was blocked by the commission, a three-judge panel ordered the board to put it on the 2014 ballot. Even if the sick time measure is passed in Orange County, Scott’s bill would make the County’s bill invalid.

Before he signed the bill there were protests from several labor and activist groups urging him to veto the bill. There were also 1,000 phone calls demanding that Scott reject the bill, but he left a small window open by putting together a task force to investigate the benefits and problems with the new bill. The bill, HR 655, will go into effect on July 1, 2013, but the fight is not over.

Many progressive organizations that oppose the bill will inevitably file lawsuits in the courts and in Orange County there are allegations that deals were made between corrupt commissioners and lobbyists. These allegations have led to a criminal investigation and a civil lawsuit that is still pending.

Roger Caldwell is the CEO of On Point Media Group in Orlando.