Labor unions

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

'Right-to-work' legislation in the Missouri House hit a snag Wednesday.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Roughly a thousand labor union members crowded onto the south lawn of the state Capitol Wednesday to rally against legislation to turn Missouri into a "right-to-work" state.

Erin Williams / St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson Cowie is a professor in Cornell University’s School of Labor and Industrial Relations teaching courses in labor relations, law and history.  His most recent book, Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class served as inspiration for Rebecca Gilman’s play, “Soups, Stews and Casseroles: 1976” which is now playing at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.  While Cowie was in St.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Republican lawmakers in Missouri are again trying to pass so-called "paycheck protection" legislation to  bar some unions from automatically withholding dues from employees.

File photo

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.

(david_shane)

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.

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