Right To Work

Senator Pro Tem Ron Richard answers questions from reporters.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum welcomes Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard to the show for the first time.

Rosenbaum interviewed the Joplin Republican in Richard's Jefferson City office. Richard is the only legislator in Missouri history to serve as both the speaker of the Missouri House and the president pro tem of the Missouri Senate.

Rep. Holly Rehder, House bill sponsor of right to work, listens to debate over right to work on Wednesday.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

(Updated January 18)  Members of the Missouri House have taken a big step toward delivering a right-to-work law to Missouri.

On Wednesday, the House initially passed state Rep. Holly Rehder’s legislation, which would bar unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues. The Sikeston Republican’s bill, which passed 101-58, also paves the way for criminal penalties for anybody that violates the proposal.

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks during his first State of the State address in Jefferson City.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Eric Greitens used his first State of the State address to offer up a fairly conservative policy agenda, a slate of proposals that will likely find favor with Republicans who dominate the Missouri General Assembly.

A committee hearing on right to work brought proponents and opponents flocking to the Capitol.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

When it comes to “right to work,” there’s widespread disagreement about the policy’s potential effects on Missouri’s economy. But there’s no question that Missouri’s unions are about to experience seismic change.

Right to work is a form of shorthand that proponents use to describe laws that bar employers and unions from requiring workers to pay dues as a condition of employment. Missouri lawmakers are expected to pass right to work legislation shortly, which Gov. Eric Greitens plans to sign.

As Eric Greitens is sworn in today as Missouri’s 56th governor, he’s pledging to support the state’s constitution and to serve the more than 6 million people living in the Show Me state.   

Shortly after Greitens was elected in November, his spokesman, Austin Chambers said,  “… the governor’s priorities for this first session are jobs, ethics reform, public safety and education reform."

St. Louis Public Radio recently asked listeners and readers to share their priorities  for the new governor. In addition to issues Greitens has already raised, some of his new constituents cite discounts and tax breaks for older homeowners.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Not since Matt Blunt was governor of Missouri nearly a decade ago did the Republican Party control both the executive branch and both houses of the legislature. Even then, there were enough Democrats in both the House and Senate to block any veto override attempts, rare as they were then.

That will differ once Eric Greitens takes the oath of office and has the benefit of veto-proof GOP majorities in both chambers.

House Speaker Todd Richardson and Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard spent time talking in the Senate chamber on Wednesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photos

House Speaker Todd Richardson joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum for the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast.

In his third appearance on the show, Richardson – a Republican from Poplar Bluff – lays out his key objectives for the coming legislative session. For the first time in eight years, the GOP will control the legislative and executive branches of Missouri state government.

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, was one of the biggest proponents of using the previous question to pass "right to work."
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri will become a right-to-work state. The chief question is how soon the General Assembly will put a version of the anti-union measure on the desk of soon-to-be Gov. Eric Greitens.

The other unknown is what particular form of “right to work’’ Missouri’s new law will take.

Under "right to work," unions and employers cannot require all workers in a bargaining unit to pay dues or fees. Although some versions of right to work say a worker cannot be required to join a union, federal law has barred such a requirement for a long time.

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.

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.

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.

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