Missouri House passes public-sector union bill, part of GOP's broad union agenda | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House passes public-sector union bill, part of GOP's broad union agenda

Feb 9, 2017

Republicans in the Missouri House are moving on to other labor union regulations a week after the right-to-work legislation passed.

Under the measure that was approved 95-60 on Thursday and sent to the Senate, state employees would have to agree to have their union dues withheld from paychecks. The bill also would prevent those dues from being spent on political endorsements and other things without an employee’s consent.

Republican Rep. Jered Taylor, of Nixa, who sponsored the House bill, said dues are currently being used in ways that don’t help union members.

“Shareholders at any time can stop paying these shares,” Taylor says. “You can’t do that in a public sector union.”

Democrats countered that workers can already prevent their union from withholding dues, and argued that the bill is nothing more than an attack on the working class.

Taylor, who is confident the bill will go to Gov. Eric Greitens this session, disagreed.

“It allows them to choose whether or not they want to be a part of the union rather than having to go through multiple people, do multiple things in order to get out of the union [and] being forced to pay those dues,” he said.

A similar public-sector union bill made it through the Legislature last session, but was vetoed by former Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat.

Rep. Gail McCann Beatty, the House Minority Floor Leader, said it’s another bad week for Missouri workers. Earlier this week, Greitens signed the right-to-work law, which bars private-sector unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues. 

McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, urged people to know the fight is not over, saying that once a referendum comes about in the next couple years, “we will see what the people think.”

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, said that GOP lawmakers will soon take up two other union-related measures. One would ban a collective bargaining agreement that requires construction projects to use union labor, and the other would abolish prevailing wage, meaning organizations could set their own wage for labor workers instead of the government's going rate. 

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