Right To Work

Former House Speaker Steve Tilley
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s extra edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back former Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley to the show.

The Perryville Republican – who now has a residence in Chesterfield – was previously on the show in 2013, and provided candid insights into his tenure as speaker.  We asked him back to discuss two big stories percolating throughout the Missouri political universe – the resignation of Republican House Speaker John Diehl and the fight over “right to work.” 

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Although Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon already has declared he’ll veto an anti-union bill known as “right to work,’’ a labor coalition has launched a TV ad campaign anyway.

The ad blitz is likely just the first salvo in what could be a summer-long effort by both sides to sway the public and politicians on the bill, which would bar employers and unions from requiring all workers in a bargaining unit to pay dues.

Jeff Smith
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies chat with former Missouri state Sen. Jeff Smith about his post-political life — and recent turbulence in Jefferson City. Smith was a rising political star before going to prison for lying to federal investigators.

State Rep. Robert Cornejo, R-St. Peters
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio’s Politically Speaking team of Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Robert Cornejo, R-St. Peters, as their latest podcast guest.

Cornejo, 32, represents parts of St. Charles and Lincoln counties. He grew up in north St. Louis County and graduated from Hazelwood Central High School. He got his law degree from University of Missouri-Columbia; at least eight members of that law class ended up in state government.

Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, wait out the final hours of the Missouri Senate's session. Both men were strong proponents of "right to work" legislation, which is opposed strongly by labor unions.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It wasn't particularly surprising that state Sen. Bob Onder was pushing hard to get so-called "right to work" legislation through a seemingly intractable Missouri Senate.

The Lake Saint Louis Republican campaigned last year in support of right to work, which bars arrangements that force workers to pay union dues if a majority voted to organize. He supported that measure even though the population of union members has steadily increased in St. Charles County, which may be why his two unsuccessful GOP rivals opposed right to work during the campaign.

Clockwise from upper left, Sen. Ron Richard, R, Joplin; Reps. Jake Hummel and Karla May, newly elected Speaker Todd Richardson at microphone, Gov. Jay Nixon
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On a “classic edition” of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Marshall Griffin take stock of one of the strangest ends to a Missouri General Assembly session in recent memory.

Reps. Sue Entlicher and Eric Burlison during the right-to-work debate. 5.13.2015
Tim Bommel | Missouri House of Representatives

Amid a sex-text scandal engulfing the House speaker, the Missouri House voted Wednesday to approve an anti-union bill that would make Missouri the nation's 26th "right-to-work" state.

But the 92-66 vote was well shy the 109 needed to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s promised veto, prompting even some Republican lawmakers to blast their leadership for pressing for the controversial matter during the session’s final week.

Missouri capitol
RebelAt | English Wikipedia

After shutting down a Democratic filibuster, the Missouri Senate voted 21-13 to approve an anti-union measure that would make Missouri a “right-to-work’’ state.

Republican backers were two votes short Tuesday night of the 23 needed to override a guaranteed veto by Gov. Jay Nixon. They also achieved the final vote by using a controversial and rarely used procedure – called “moving the previous question,’’ or PQ – that angered many of the bill’s opponents.

Rep. Jacob Hummel and Sen. Joe Keaveny, Democrats from St. Louis
Tim Bommel of House Communications and Rebecca Smith of St. Louis Public Radio

On a special edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies use the magic of radio to interview the Missouri General Assembly’s two Democratic leaders – Senate Minority Leader Joe Keaveny and House Minority Leader Jake Hummel.

Jo Mannies|St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated, 1 p.m. Tues., May 12) Just days before the General Assembly must adjourn, all other legislative issues are being held hostage while the Missouri Senate debates the hottest issue of the session: an anti-union bill known as “right to work.”

The Senate took up the bill Tuesday morning, after a committee voted 5-3 late Monday to send the measure to the floor.  Opponents quickly launched into a filibuster.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner talks with reporters in O'Fallon, Illinois. Rauner expressed enthusastic support for bringing the NGA headquarters to the Metro East.
File photo | Katelyn Petrin I St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is bullish about an effort to get the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency to relocate near Scott Air Force Base.

The federal government is mulling over several locations to relocate the NGA’s facility, which is currently in south St. Louis. That includes a location near Scott Air Force Base, as well sites in north St. Louis, south St. Louis County and Fenton.

Tom Dempsey R. Mo Senator 02182014
Official photo

Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, says he has yet to take a position on the “right-to-work’’ bill that is headed to his chamber after passing the House last week.

“I’m still looking at it,’’ Dempsey said in an interview.

He also remains skeptical that the measure — which would restrict union rights in the workplace — has enough Senate votes to override what he sees as “a certain veto’’ by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat with close labor ties.

House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town & Country
Tim Bommel, House Communications

On this special edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies to talk about the passage of “right to work” legislation in the Missouri. 

The bill in question – sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield – would bar unions and employers from requiring all workers to join a union and pay union fees, if a majority votes to organize. It passed the Missouri House on Thursday with 92 "yes" votes, which falls short of the majority needed to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

(Updated 12:40 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12)

For the first time ever, the Missouri House has approved a right-to-work bill that curbs union rights.

But the House’s 92-66 vote Wednesday afternoon was far short of the number – 109 -- needed to withstand a likely veto by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat with close union ties.

Final House approval came Thursday morning. The  measure now moves to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future and a possible Democratic filibuster.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 1 p.m., Wed., Feb. 11)

By a voice vote, the Missouri House gave first round-approval Wednesday to a bill to bar construction unions and employers from requiring all employees to join a union and pay dues if a majority votes to organize. The bill, HB 582, is sponsored by Rep. Courtney Curtis, D-Berkeley.

----- Our earlier story

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 by Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

When it comes to having a “big tent” for its members, Missouri Democrats have talked the talk – and walked the walk. 

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 1:50 p.m. Mon., April 28)

After two weeks of vigorous lobbying, Republican leaders in the Missouri House acknowledge that they have yet to obtain the extra four votes needed to send to the state Senate a measure to put a "right-to-work" proposal on the August ballot.

“I’m not in the habit of bringing up votes unless the votes are secured,’’ said House Majority Leader John Diehl, R-Town and Country, in an interview late last week.  

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

After cruising on the Rhine in Germany for the past couple of weeks, Jo Mannies rejoins Jason Rosenbaum and Chris McDaniel for the podcast.

Note: You can subscribe to us on iTunes now.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

(Updated 1:40 p.m. Tues., April 15)

The Missouri House is expected to make a renewed attempt this week to win enough votes to send to the state Senate a measure to put a “right to work” proposal on the August ballot.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

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

File photo by Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Top religious leaders in St. Louis — led by Catholic Archbishop Robert J. Carlson — announced Friday that they oppose legislative efforts to pass “right-to-work’’ measures that would restrict labor rights.

The cabinet of the Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis says it also opposes putting the issue on a statewide ballot.

“Working for economic justice is an integral element of our faith traditions,” the cabinet said in a statement delivered Friday to Bob Soutier, president of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council.

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.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

HANNIBAL, Mo. --The banners, the stickers and the rhetoric at this weekend’s Democrat Days made one thing clear:

When it comes to “right to work,’’ Missouri Democratic activists and politicians are solidly against it. 

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.

Credit Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics. 

It's another two-part edition of the podcast. Marshall Griffin joins the Politically Speaking crew to talk about Gov. Jay Nixon's State of the State speech and the latest developments involving Missouri's death penalty. Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, joins Chris, Jo and Jason for the second part of the show. 

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The first full week of the Missouri’s General Assembly is officially underway, and already the focus has shifted away from the expected topics – tax cuts and Medicaid expansion – and landed smack dab in the midst of a potentially bruising battle over labor rights.

The fight offers the potential of overshadowing other legislative issues for weeks, if not months.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon.

On this week’s podcast, Jason and Jo discuss the roadblocks to getting “right to work” on the ballot and why upcoming campaign finance reports matter. For the rest of the show, the Politically Speaking crew talks with Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City.

During the show, Barnes described his proposal to expand Medicaid – which some see as an alternative to the straight-up Medicaid expansion that Gov. Jay Nixon supports. Barnes also discussed his efforts to find out more about Missouri’s unsuccessful bid to lure Boeing’s 777X to Missouri.

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder spoke at this weekend’s regional Conservative Political Action Conference, he contended that part of "staying on offense" included trying to make Missouri a "right to work" state.

Peter Kinder spoke at Saturday's CPAC STL event.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri’s top labor leader is lauding an Indiana judge’s ruling against that state’s right-to-work law, although Republicans predict that the Indiana Supreme Court will reject the judge’s argument.

The judge, from predominantly Democratic Lake County, ruled Monday that the law – passed in 2012 – violated Indiana’s constitution because it requires unions to represent workers who decline to pay their share of representation costs. The requirement runs afoul of the constitution’s ban against services provided “without compensation.”

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