Right To Work | St. Louis Public Radio

Right To Work

Missouri state Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri state Sen. Bob Onder joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann to talk about Gov. Mike Parson’s transition in the state’s chief executive office — and what the legislature could deal with in 2019.

The Lake Saint Louis Republican represents a portion of St. Charles County. He’s running for re-election against Democrat Patrice Billings.

Wesley Bell, candidate for St. Louis County prosecutor, votes at First Presbyterian Church in Ferguson on Tuesday morning. Aug. 7, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

If Missourians proved anything on Tuesday, it’s that they aren’t predictable when it comes to how they vote.

Less than two years removed from endorsing President Donald Trump and a slate of GOP statewide aspirants, voters overwhelmingly repealed the party’s signature policy, right to work, from the law books. But instead of backing candidates that won the blessing of organized labor groups, St. Louis and St. Louis County voters decided to go in very different directions.

Mike Louis, the president of the Missouri AFL-CIO, declares victory in defeating Proposition A on August 7, 2018 at Sheet Metal Workers Local 36.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri voters rejected the right-to-work measure on Tuesday, delivering a big blow to a priority of the GOP-controlled legislature and powerful business groups.

It’s the second time in the last 40 years that Missourians defeated the policy, which bars unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues as a condition of employment.

In the other statewide contest on Tuesday’s ballot, Saundra McDowell bested three other Republicans to take on state Auditor Nicole Galloway.

Floyd Blackwell, Lee Smith and Raychel Proudie face each other in an Aug. 7 Democratic primary for Missouri House District 73.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Right to work is dividing the three Republicans hoping to succeed District 110 Rep. Paul Curtman, who’s running for state auditor.

Area mailboxes are packed with Proposition A fliers, pro and con
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

The vote Tuesday to determine whether Missouri becomes the 28th right-to-work state will reverberate nationally and could have a huge effect on state lawmakers next year.

“We got to beat ‘em bad,” Greater St. Louis Labor Council President Pat White said as their campaign to defeat Proposition A heads into the home stretch. “We got to beat ‘em bad enough, so that next year we can go to these Republicans — and it ain’t all Republicans — and we can say, ‘This is how many people voted against this in your district.’”

Joining Friday’s show via phone, state Sen. Bob Onder (R-Lake Saint Louis), at left, spoke in favor of Proposition A. Jack Cardetti, who was in studio for the conversation, spoke in opposition.
Courtesy of Bob Onder & St. Louis Public Radio

“Do the people of the state of Missouri want to adopt Senate Bill 19 ("Right-to-Work") … ?”

So begins Proposition A, which if passed would make Missouri the 28th right-to-work state in the country, prohibiting labor organizations from mandating union membership or union fees as a condition of employment.

Voters will decide the hotly contested matter during the Aug. 7 primary election. On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh examined both sides of the ballot issue.

Patterson for Oakville

The right-to-work proposition may determine who succeeds Missouri state Rep. Marsha Haefner in District 95.

Joe Patterson and Michael O’Donnell – each with different views on Proposition A – are seeking the Republican nomination for the seat that covers portions of south St. Louis County. Haefner, R-Oakville, is leaving the office due to term limits.

Union members gathered at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall on Aug. 8, 2017, to notarize and turn in petitions to force a statewide vote over Missouri’s right-to-work law.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s election edition of Politically Speaking looks into the referendum over Missouri’s right-to-work law — and the GOP primary for state auditor.

Besides the U.S. Senate contest, the right-to-work fight and GOP auditor race will be on every Missouri primary ballot on Aug. 7. And both matters could have long-term ramifications for the state’s politics.

Pat White is the president of the St. Louis Labor Council.
Pat White

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a significant legal blow to public-sector unions earlier this week with its decision in Janus v. AFSCME, an Illinois union-dues case. The ruling comes as Missouri voters gear up to decide Aug. 7 whether to pass a right-to-work referendum, Proposition A, that would impact collective bargaining in the private sector.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh went Behind the Headlines with a discussion about the state of organized labor in the bi-state region in light of the ruling. Joining him for the conversation was the president of the St. Louis Labor Council, Pat White, who described the court decision as “another attack on working men and women.”

Supreme Court
Kjetil Ree | Flickr

Labor leaders in Missouri’s public and private sectors say the U.S. Supreme Court’s latest ruling curbing public-employee unions doesn’t appear to have a direct impact in Missouri.

The court ruled 5-4 today that public-employee unions cannot collect fees or dues from workers who decline to join the union. But in Missouri, labor leaders say public-employee unions in the state already must get their members to voluntarily pay dues.

Former Secretary of State Jason Kander, left, hosts podcast with national AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka on June 23, 2018.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Democrats appear to be banking their political future on linking the state’s fight over a “right to work’’ law, known as Proposition A, to the effort to re-elect Missouri’s last remaining Democrats holding statewide office.

A referendum over Proposition A will be on the August ballot. The two Democrats facing re-election this year – U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and state Auditor Nicole Galloway – will go before voters in November.

Missouri Capitol
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has given final approval to a proposal that would ask voters later this year to put right-to-work language into the state’s constitution.

Monday night’s action is part of a two-pronged effort by predominantly Republican supporters to protect a right-to-work law they passed last year.

Under right to work, unions and employers are barred from requiring workers to pay dues or fees. Supporters say right to work would give workers more freedom and attract more business to the state. Opponents say such a law drives down wages and is a GOP effort to hurt unions because they primarily support Democrats.

Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A new front has opened up in the battle over whether Missouri should become a right-to-work state.

Under right-to-work, unions and employers would be barred from requiring all workers within a bargaining unit to pay dues or fees. On Friday, the Missouri House passed a measure that would ingrain right-to-work in the state constitution.

Missouri voters could have several marijuana proposals to choose from this fall.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri voters could have several marijuana proposals to choose from this fall, along with ballot issues that seek to increase the state’s minimum wage and change Missouri’s process for crafting legislative districts.

Backers turned in signatures for six initiative-petition proposals by Sunday’s deadline. Four of them deal with marijuana.

Two of the proposals would legalize marijuana for medical use, while two others would legalize it for recreational use as well.

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A House committee has passed a measure that would change the date voters would decide on whether to make Missouri a right-to-work state.

House Committee Resolution 102 would move the right-to-work referendum from the November general election to the August primary, which traditionally draws fewer voters. It’s sponsored by Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston.

State Rep. Courtney Curtis, left, and St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby speak a news conference last year. Curtis is sponsoring "right to work" legislation aimed at construction unions, which he contends haven't done enough to bring minori
File photo | Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 1:45 p.m. on Monday with formal filing of lawsuit.

After filing closed on Tuesday, Missouri Democrats were jubilant about attracting scores of candidates to run for House and Senate seats.

But some are fuming over one person who didn’t get a chance to file.

Erin Achenbach | St. Louis Public Radio

Several hundred union members rallied Wednesday in Jefferson City against the right-to-work law state lawmakers passed last year.

In November, voters will go to the polls to decide on Proposition A, and a “yes” vote would uphold Senate Bill 19, a controversial bill signed by Gov. Eric Greitens last year that would enact a right-to-work law. The law, which effectively was suspended until voters decide its fate, mandates that no person can be required to join a labor union or pay dues to a labor union as a condition of employment.

Jumira Moore, 8, watches as her mother, Timira Saunders, fills out a ballot at Central Baptist Church in St. Louis on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s indisputable that 2017 produced enough policy and political storylines to keep bespectacled reporters busy. But an even-numbered year brings elections — and the potential for a whole different texture to the state’s politics.

Rep. Clem Smith, D-Velda Village Hills
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back state Rep. Clem Smith to the program.

The Velda Village Hills Democrat has represented a slew of central and north St. Louis County municipalities since 2011. He will leave the House after the 2018 session due to term limits.

Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies talk with state Rep. Doug Beck about the effort to repeal Missouri’s recently passed right-to-work law.

The Affton Democrat has worked as a union pipefitter for more than 30 years. He was first elected in 2016 to represent a south St. Louis County-based district where voters favored the GOP nominee for president,  Donald Trump. Beck is also a member of the Affton School Board.

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