labor unions

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When Republican Steve Tilley was speaker of the Missouri House, he flatly told fellow Republicans that he would not bring up any bills to make Missouri a "right-to-work" state.

At the time, Tilley said publicly that he viewed the issue as too divisive and potentially destructive to Missouri Republicans. He also discounted the arguments of "right-to-work" advocates who said that such a law would create jobs.

Now, the Missouri AFL-CIO has hired Tilley as a lobbyist to block this session’s "right-to-work" efforts of his successor, Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A bill to turn Missouri into a right-to-work state was the subject of a hearing in Jefferson City Monday.

As written, the so-called "Freedom to Work Act" (House Bill 1099) would bar workers from being required to "engage in or cease engaging in specified labor organization practices" as a condition for employment.  It's sponsored by State Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield.

Provided by governor's office

Updated noon Monday, Jan. 13

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon joined Ford officials in Detroit on Monday to highlight the automaker’s production in Missouri, most notably its 2015 Ford F-150, which will be built at the company’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo.

On Sunday, the governor had done the same thing:  He appeared with General Motors officials at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to promote the auto manufacturer’s new mid-size truck, the 2015 GMC Canyon, which is to be built in Wentzville.

Tim Bommel/Mo. House Communications

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has announced an agreement with St. Louis-area labor unions leaders designed to further entice Boeing into awarding its 777X contract to Missouri.

Nixon told reporters during a conference call Tuesday that leaders from three construction union groups have all committed to a 24-hour work schedule with no overtime pay, while constructing the facility where the new passenger jet is to be built.

St. Louis Public Radio Staff / St. Louis Public Radio

The mass transit agency Metro says buses and trains will run as usual for Fair St. Louis this week, despite the possibility of a labor strike.

Vice president of marketing and communications Dianne Williams says Metro is monitoring negotiations with its union, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788.

"We do expect to be able to serve Fair St. Louis this week," Williams said. "We will, if we're able, have extra services out on the street. We do every year for Fair St. Louis to accommodate the crowds."

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has given final passage to legislation that would limit labor unions' ability to deduct dues and fees from the paychecks of public employees.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Labor union members from across Missouri descended on the State Capitol today, hoping to convince lawmakers to defeat bills they say are anti-worker.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The Missouri Senate has given first round approval to a scaled-backed version of the so-called Paycheck Protection bill.

The original bill would have barred unions from automatically withholding dues from the paychecks of public employees, but Senate Democrats spent nearly ten hours Monday night and Tuesday morning blocking the bill. The filibuster ended when the bill was changed to allow annual consent for withholding union dues from paychecks.

Nurses Picket Outside SLU Hospital

Mar 11, 2013
Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

Close to 100 nurses from Saint Louis University Hospital and Des Peres Hospital picketed in the cold outside of SLU Hospital on Monday morning, saying they are required to do too much with too little staffing and insufficient equipment.

Marchelle Bettis is an RN on the trauma unit, and works with critical victims of stabbings, shootings and accidents. She says it's hard for her and her coworkers to do their jobs appropriately with the current staffing.

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Reporting by Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey used in this report.

It looks like an impending strike of workers in Illinois' largest government-employee union has been avoided - tentatively.

Governor Pat Quinn reached a tentative contract deal with The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) early this morning.

Officially, the union is keeping mum about what's in the contract.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The percentage of Missouri workers who are members of a union dropped to less than 9 percent in 2012, following two years of slight gains.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released its report on Monday. It showed that 51,000 fewer Missouri workers were in a union in 2012 than 2011. The state was part of a larger national trend, but that 2 percent drop was among the largest.

Waitscm / Flickr

Tuesday night the St. Louis County Council passed a new ordinance that in part requires contractors have a U.S. Department of Labor approved apprentice program.

That provision drew criticism from some civil rights groups who said it was unfairly pro-union.

“You know there are any number of minority owned contractors who are not union contractors,” said Adolphus Pruitt, president of the St. Louis branch of the NAACP.   “We’ve fought this fight a hundred times about this language and how it excludes them simply because they’re not tied to the union.”

(via Flickr/david_shane)

The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that not only must public bodies like school boards and cities collectively bargain with their employee unions, but that bargaining must be done in good faith.

The Court issued two rulings Tuesday - one dealing with unionized teachers at a St. Louis charter school, and the other dealing with police officers in University City and Chesterfield who wanted to unionize.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

A four-year legal struggle over whether Missouri’s home care workers can unionize is finally over.

The Missouri Supreme Court has chosen to let stand the most recent ruling surrounding the results of a 2010 election, in which a majority of home care workers voted to form a labor union.  A circuit court judge had blocked the state from certifying the election results, but the Court of Appeals for the Western District reversed that decision.  The High Court’s decision to take no further action means that home care workers can begin negotiations on a union contract with the state.

(via Flickr/Senator McCaskill)

A group billing itself as non-partisan is calling on U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D, Missouri) to reveal where she stands on micro-unions.

Micro-unions are smaller groups of workers within an officially-sanctioned labor union.  The National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) issued a ruling last year that allowed the creation of micro-unions.  Jason Klindt with the Coalition to Protect Missouri Jobs says micro-unions are a threat to small businesses.


Mo. Senator accuses state labor department of improperly manipulating wages with unions

A top Missouri Senate leader says the state labor department is improperly working with unions to manipulate wages paid on public works projects. The state calculates an annual "prevailing wage" for various construction trades in each county based on surveys of wages already paid on jobs.

Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, a Republican from Dexter, said Wednesday that state bureaucrats and labor unions had engaged in what he called "collusion.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Well over a thousand labor union members rallied outside the State Capitol Tuesday against various bills in the General Assembly they say is anti-worker.

In particular, they oppose legislation that would suspend the prevailing wage law in tornado-ravaged Joplin and other parts of Missouri declared to be federal disaster areas.  Governor Jay Nixon (D) spoke at the rally, accusing Republican lawmakers and their backers of attacking working people in Missouri.

(via Flickr/davidsonscott15)

Good morning! Here are a few of today's starting headlines:

  • The Jennings City Council voted 6-to-1 last night to enter a contract with the St. Louis County police department to handle the municipality's police services. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the lone no vote came form Councilwoman Yolanda Austin , who is claiming she has flied a lawsuit to block the contract. St. Louis County has been overseeing the Jennings police Department since November 1. The one-year contract would cost $2.8 million. The Post-Dispatch reports the current budgeted cost for Jennings to run its own department is about $3.1 million.
  • A Missouri House Republican wants to require labor unions to get written permission from their members before deducting dues form their paychecks. The legislation by House Speaker  Pro Tem Shane Schoeller would require workers to sign a forma every year authorizing the deductions. They would also have to give written consent for their dues to be used for political activities. Schoeller, from Willard, says workers should be able to decide how to spend their own money. Labor groups say the bill would require too much paperwork. They also say dues are not used for political activities. They say those activities are financed from a separate fund to which members make voluntary contributions.
  • According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Police Retirement System endorsed changes Monday to pension benefits for newly hired St. Louis police officers. The changes call for all participants, including those currently enrolled, to contribute 9 percent of their salary, up from 7 percent. According to the system's executive director, the changes would saved the city about $600,000 a year to start, and about $10 million annually after about 20 years. The Post-Dispatch reports that new officers would have to wait longer to be eligible for benefits and would not be able to receive a lump sum refund on their contributions upon retirement. Exacerbated by the bad economy, cost for city contributions to police, firefighter and other employee pension systems have ballooned by millions in recent years. City leaders have said employees face almost certain layoffs if cost cannot be trimmed.

Missouri Capitol building
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Some Republican senators want to prohibit union-only work places, which they contend could deter some businesses from locating in Missouri.

Missouri businesses currently have the option of requiring union fees from employees.

Legislation filed Thursday by Republican Sen. Jason Crowell, of Cape Girardeau, would refer the union issue to voters next year.

The U.S. Supreme Court broadened the legal protection of workers who face retaliation for complaining about discrimination at work. The court ruled that workers who complained about race and age discrimination were protected from reprisals, just as are those who complain about sex discrimination have been protected since a 2005 decision.