Right To Work

Missouri capitol
RebelAt | English Wikipedia

The Republican near-sweep of statewide offices in the Nov. 8 election in Missouri opens the path for a lot of changes in the state but none is as assured as the passage of “right to work” legislation, which would alter the ability of labor unions to require dues from members to work certain jobs.

Missouri Capitol building
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The start of December is the start of Missouri lawmakers pre-filing legislation for the 2017 legislative session.

One that has been controversial for some time is the effort to limit the power of labor unions by turning Missouri into a so-called right-to-work state. The effort in the House is being led by Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, left, presents Congressional Gold Medal to the widow of blues legend Johnnie Johnson, to mark his service in World War II.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is praising Missouri’s new governor-elect – Republican Eric Greitens – for reaching out to her in what she sees as a signal of possible cooperation, at least in some areas.

In an interview, McCaskill said the two talked right before Thanksgiving. “Governor Greitens called me and we had a great conversation,” she said.

Eric and Sheena Greitens hold their sons, Joshua and Jacob, while speaking to reporters after casting their ballots the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End on Tuesday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Republicans Tuesday night experienced their greatest triumph in the Show Me State’s modern history. And Missouri Democrats had arguably their worst night ever.

Those two declarative statements may seem like hyperbole, but it’s pretty close to the truth. Tuesday marked the first time ever Republicans won seven statewide elections in a single night. And with commanding majorities in the Missouri General Assembly, Gov.-elect Eric Greitens will be in a profoundly powerful position to enact his agenda – and to sign longstanding GOP priorities into law.

Sen. Scott Sifton, D-Affton, listens as fellow senators thank each other for their work.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

State Sen. Scott Sifton knows a thing or two about high-stakes elections.

The Affton Democrat took part four years ago in the most competitive legislative race in the state against incumbent Sen. Jim Lembke. A lot more was on the line than just flipping the 1st District Senatorial seat: Lembke and Sifton were divided on a host of key issues, and Sifton’s victory gave the smallish Democratic caucus more firepower to achieve their agenda.

As he runs for re-election in a district that’s been historically close, Sifton sees similarly high stakes in his contest against Republican Randy Jotte. But it’s over an issue in which he and Lembke found agreement: “right to work.”

Bill Eigel
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Dale Singer welcome Republican Bill Eigel to the program for the first time.

Eigel is a St. Charles County-based businessman who emerged victorious in a highly competitive GOP primary for the 23rd District Senate seat. He faces Democrat Richard Orr this fall, but the 23rd District seat is considered to be a decidedly Republican seat.

Courtney Curtis
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum is joined by colleague Stephanie Lecci and St. Louis American reporter Rebecca Rivas. The trio welcomed state Rep. Courtney Curtis to the show for the first time.

The Ferguson Democrat won a competitive primary last week for re-election. Because winning the Democratic primary in his north St. Louis County-based district is tantamount to election, Curtis will likely get to serve a third term in the Missouri House after 2017.

Wikipedia

Regardless of whether Missouri becomes a battleground in the presidential contest, national labor leaders see the state as one of their top priorities this fall.

“Missouri has the most important governor’s race in the country going on right now,” said Richard Trumka, national president of the AFL-CIO, during an exclusive interview while he was in St. Louis over the weekend.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Not all of the news that you see and hear featured on St. Louis Public Radio comes from the St. Louis region itself—some of it comes from our reporters located in Jefferson City and Washington D.C. That would be Marshall Griffin and Jim Howard, respectively.

On Monday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” the two discussed the year’s biggest news from our nation’s capital and the capital of Missouri. 

Here’s some of what they discussed:

Democrats are in the super minority in both the Missouri House and the Missouri Senate.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

A new Missouri political action committee has launched a $1 million ad campaign targeting 20 Republicans in the Missouri House who voted against a proposed right-to-work law this fall.

The PAC is called The Committee for Accountable Government in Missouri. So far, all of its donations have come from members of the Humphreys family, which owns Tamko, a Joplin-based company that specializes in manufacturing residential and commercial roofing products.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The past year was full of watershed political moments in St. Louis and the state of Missouri, but what will have the greatest implications for 2016? On Wednesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” host Don Marsh picked the brains of two people who know best: St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum, political reporters and hosts of the podcast Politically Speaking

Ryan Johnson
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome Missouri Alliance for Freedom’s Ryan Johnson to the program for the first time.

Rep. Eric Burlison
Scott Harvey I KSMU

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Eric Burlison to the show (with some generous assistance from our friends at KSMU).

Sen. Gina Walsh
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Tim Lloyd welcome state Sen. Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, to the program for the second time.

She represents the 13th District, a north St. Louis County area that encompasses portions of Ferguson and Dellwood. Walsh spent nearly three decades as part of the Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local #1, and she's currently the president of the Missouri State Building & Construction Trades Council.

Former state Sen. Tom Dempsey
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome former Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey.

The St. Charles Republican provided some of his most in-depth comments about his departure from the Missouri Senate. He surprised many by resigning last month and taking a job at The Gateway Group, a lobbying organization that’s based in St. Louis. Retired financier Rex Sinquefield is one of the Gateway Group's clients.

Union supporters wore bright red/orange shirts that showed up in the gallery.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 12:40 a.m. Sept. 17 with legislative leaders' comments - Backers of “right to work” fell 13 votes short in the Missouri House, killing the most successful effort so far in the state to enact the law to curb union rights in the workplace.

Missouri Capitol building
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 4:32 p.m., Sept. 16 with vote – The Republican push to bring "right to work" to Missouri failed in a 96-63 vote in the Missouri House. Up until the veto session started it was unknown whether Republicans legislative leaders would attempt the override. As it was, the GOP picked up four votes and fell short of the 109 needed to counter Gov. Jay Nixon's clear stand against the measure.

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, says that a final decision on whether to bring up House Bill 116 could be decided right before the noon start.

The Missouri House in session on March 17, 2015.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On an “old school” edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Marshall Griffin provide a preview of the Missouri General Assembly’s upcoming veto session.

Gov. Jay Nixon was greeted by an enthusiastic and supportive crowd Thursday for his announced veto of 'right to work' at the Local 36 Sheet Metal Workers training building.
File photo by Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

With Wednesday’s veto session looming, supporters and opponents of “right to work’’ are launching last-minute appeals – deploying ads, polls, rallies and money to make their case.

Backers of what's seen as an anti-labor measure, in particular, are gearing up on several fronts as they seek the necessary votes to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill. It would bar employers and unions from requiring all workers in a bargaining unit to pay dues or fees.

The Missouri Capitol Building
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

With several close votes expected during this week’s legislative veto session, the Missouri attorney general’s office weighed in today with a legal opinion declaring that vacancies won’t alter the number of votes in the state House and Senate required for a successful override.

In the Missouri House, the magic number is 109 votes. In the Senate, it remains 23. Some lawmakers had argued that fewer votes would be needed because of vacancies, making it easier to override Gov. Jay Nixon.

Union members clap in appreciation at a rally against overriding 'right-to-work' on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015 in Arnold, Mo.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Union members are making sure Missouri Republican lawmakers who voted against ‘right-to-work’ earlier this year know that they will have union support during the next election.

Missouri's chapter of the AFL-CIO held a rally and knocked on doors Saturday in Jefferson County ahead of the General Assembly’s veto session next Wednesday. That's when a vote to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a  "right-to-work" bill could be brought to the floor. The measure would bar making union dues a condition of employment.  Currently a business or union can require dues when a majority of workers have voted to organize.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced drops in workers comp rates in at the Carpenters Training Center in Affton on Thursday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri businesses can expect to pay less for workers compensation insurance.

During a visit to Nelson Mulligan Carpenters Training Center in Affton on Thursday, Gov. Jay Nixon announced that a variety of Missouri businesses would see a drop in their workers comp rates. Companies pay for this insurance to avoid paying big costs when a worker gets hurt.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The debate on ‘right to work’ was at the forefront of Missouri’s most recent legislative session. 

Mother Jones leading a Colorado march.
United Mine Workers of America (Courtesy Rosemary Feurer)

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, the “grandmother of all agitators,” emerged as an activist in the late 19th century during the country’s rash of mine and railway strikes.

Fighting for organizations such as the United Mine Workers of America during strikes, Jones organized a transnational, multi-ethnic movement in support of a living wage, restrictions on child labor and public ownership of resources. She came to be nationally known as a dissident, a “dangerous citizen,” and an unapologetic Bolshevik—later in life, she owned up to all three.

A new TV ad calls for legislators to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of "right-to-work" legislation.
Screenshot | Americans for Prosperity ad

After a brief hiatus, both sides in the battle over “right to work” are back with a vengeance as they gear up for the Missouri General Assembly’s veto session in just over two weeks.

The dueling campaigns may be aimed, in part, at influencing Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Cape Girardeau. A spokesman said the speaker has yet to decide whether to bring up the “right to work” bill, which was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon earlier this summer.

Sen. Eric Schmitt
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

This week, the Politically Speaking podcast team welcomes Missouri state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, the chief sponsor of the broad court-reform bill known as Senate Bill 5.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed the bill into law last week. Among other things, it restricts the percentage of income that a municipality can collect from traffic fines and related court fees.

Peter Kinder primary election night 2010
Rachel Heidenry | 2010 | St. Louis Beacon

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is proposing that Gov. Jay Nixon and state Attorney General Chris Koster engage in public debates with him in the coming weeks over the issue of right to work.

“He would be willing to do any forum,’’ a Kinder spokesman said. That includes appearing jointly on TV or on radio.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Supporters of a Missouri right-to-work bill are launching the first of what they say will be a series of ad campaigns in the coming months in a bid to persuade state legislators to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto.

The state arm of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group with ties to the Koch brothers, began Wednesday running a statewide cable TV ad campaign.

State director Patrick Werner said about $200,000 will be spent on the ads, which are to run until July 4.

Gov. Jay Nixon ceremonially signs his veto of right to work Thursday, June 4, 2015 in St. Louis.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

Amid GOP calls that he give back the money, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says any controversy over $50,000 that he recently received from the national UAW misses the point of why he vetoed an anti-union bill known as “right to work.”

“This is not partisan to me,’’ Nixon said in an interview Thursday after an unrelated news conference to herald a new business coming to the city’s Grand Center area.

Local 36 sheet metal worker leader Ernie Angelbeck celebrates Gov. Jay Nixon's signature vetoing "right to work" at a news conference Thursday, June 4, 2015 in St. Louis.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

As expected, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed the “right-to-work” bill passed by state lawmakers just before their session ended last month.

The measure would stop employers from making union dues a condition of employment. As it stands now, unions and businesses can make that requirement if a majority of workers have voted to be in a union.

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