INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIREFIGHTERS LOCAL S-20, FLORIDA STATE FIRE SERVICE ASSOCIATION, Appellant,
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.
FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
appeal from the Public Employees Relations Commission. Tobe
Lev and Richard Siwica of Egan, Lev & Siwica, P.A.,
Orlando, for Appellant.
Richard A. Sicking and Mark A. Touby of Touby, Chait &
Sicking, P.L., Coral Gables, for Florida Professional
Firefighters, Inc., International Association of
Firefighters, AFL-CIO, Amicus Curiae in support of Appellant.
Michael Mattimore, Jason Miller, and Avery McKnight of Allen,
Norton & Blue, P.A., Tallahassee, for Appellee.
International Association of Firefighters Local S-20 appeals
a decision of the Public Employees Relations Commission
dismissing an unfair labor charge against the Governor for
vetoing a proviso in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Had the proviso been approved, it would have given a raise to
firefighters who work for the State. We affirm because the
Governor has constitutional authority to veto specific
appropriations of the GAA, and because the Legislature
ultimately resolved the impasse by maintaining the status
I, § 6 of the Florida Constitution, along with its
enabling statute, chapter 447, Florida Statutes, recognizes
state employees' right to collectively bargain. State
v. Fla. Police Benevolent Ass'n, 613 So.2d 415, 418
(Fla. 1992). In the case of state employees, the Governor is
considered the public employer in collective bargaining
negotiations. § 447.203(2), Fla. Stat. As part of the
statute, § 447.403 sets forth the process by which state
employees and the Governor must resolve impasses. The
Legislature is responsible for resolving impasse issues.
§ 447.403(2)(b), Fla. Stat. When parties reach an
impasse, the Legislature must convene a committee to review
impasse issues and recommend a resolution to the Legislature.
§ 447.403(5)(a), Fla. Stat. Once the Legislature takes
action on the resolution, the parties are bound. §
447.403(5)(b), Fla. Stat.
Local S-20 is the duly authorized bargaining agent for a unit
of firefighters employed by the State of Florida. Local S-20
and the Governor bargained over wages, hours, and conditions
of employment for fiscal year 2015- 2016, and reached an
impasse on several issues. Most notably, Appellant sought a
$1500 per member raise. Upon reaching impasse, the parties
submitted their positions to the Joint Select Committee on
Collective Bargaining as required by the statute for
resolving impasses. After the Committee completed its work,
the Legislature passed the GAA, which included proviso
language resolving the impasse by granting a $2000 per member
pay raise, an even larger raise than Appellant had sought.
The Legislature also passed a catch-all impasse provision in
chapter 2015-223, Laws of Florida, providing for the
resolution of unaddressed impasses "by maintaining the
status quo under the applicable current bargaining
agreement." When the GAA was presented to the Governor,
he vetoed the $2000 raise-specific proviso. After the
Legislature took no subsequent action to override the veto,
the impasse was resolved by maintaining the status quo.
the State presented the bargaining agreement without
including the raise, Appellant filed an unfair labor practice
charge claiming that the Governor lacked veto authority. But
the Public Employees Relations Commission dismissed the
charge. It rejected Appellant's claim that the Governor
was powerless to veto the raise and approved the State's
presentation of a bargaining agreement that maintained wages
at the status quo.
case involves the Governor's authority to review and veto
public employee, collective bargaining-related matters in the
GAA. The Legislature tried to resolve a wage-related impasse
in this case by including a $2000 raise in a specific
appropriation within the GAA. Because the GAA is not
self-executing, however, the act went to the Governor for
Florida Constitution is clear that the Governor may sign the
GAA, veto it, or veto specific appropriations within the act.
Article III, § 8, Fla. Const. ("The governor may
veto any specific appropriation in a general appropriation
bill . . . ."). In this case, if the Governor approved
the $2000 raise within the GAA, then the impasse would be
resolved. However, if the Governor vetoed either the entire
GAA, or the raise-specific proviso within the GAA, then the
impasse would remain within the Legislature's purview to
resolve by some other means.
Governor vetoed the specific appropriation here and Appellant
takes issue with it. Appellant does not dispute the
Legislature's attempt to resolve impasses via the GAA in
the first instance, but argues that the Governor was required
to approve the raise-specific appropriation in the GAA.
See § 447.403(5)(b), Fla. Stat. ("Any
actions taken by the Legislature shall bind the parties . . .
."). Based primarily on a statute, Appellant asks us to
recognize a limitation on the Governor's constitutional
authority to review the GAA, even though the Constitution
explicitly allows the Governor to veto the GAA or
"any specific appropriation in a general
appropriation bill." Article III, § 8, Fla. Const.
(emphasis added). We cannot accept Appellant's
invitation. The Florida Constitution clearly articulates the
Governor's authority to veto the GAA, or specific
appropriations therein. Id. It authorized him to
veto the raise appropriation here. See Brown v.
Firestone, 382 So.2d 654 (Fla. 1980) (setting forth
parameters regarding the exercise of the Governor's veto
power). That Appellant's members possess constitutional
collective bargaining rights does not alter the
Governor's constitutional authority with respect to the