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Government, Politics & Issues

Missouri AFL-CIO issues Nov. 6 endorsements - lots of Republicans make the cut

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 17, 2012 - The Missouri AFL-CIO has issued its endorsements for the Nov. 3 elections and there are a few surprises – several dozen Republicans.

Amid the expected list of supported Democrats – including Gov. Jay Nixon and others running for statewide office – are a notable number of Republicans who also have won labor support. They include U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, seven Republicans running for the state Senate and 20 GOP candidates for the Missouri House.

The labor-backed Republicans in the state Senate include incumbents Jim Lembke of Lemay, Eric Schmitt of Glendale, Kurt Schaefer of Columbia and likely new Senate leader Tom Dempsey of St. Peters.

In the House, they include state Rep. John Diehl of Town and Country and Kevin Engler of Farmington, who is retiring from the Senate because of term limits and hopes to return as a state representative.

The state AFL-CIO’s support of Lembke and Schaefer are particularly noteworthy because both have well-known progressive Democratic opponents: state Reps. Scott Sifton of Affton and Mary Still of Columbia.

State AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Herb Johnson acknowledges that this year’s endorsement list includes more Republicans than he can remember. Those Republicans, he said, are primarily incumbents who “have supported our core issues.”

As a result, “they were there for us, so we’re there for them.”

Johnson acknowledged that some Democrats aren’t happy about it. But he added that taking a bipartisan approach “is how (Missouri unions) have avoided the Wisconsin and Indiana situations” where Republicans have taken control of state government and acted to strip union rights.

Among other things, the labor endorsements of some prominent Republicans in the state Capitol is an implicit acknowledgement that the GOP is likely to retain control in both chambers for at least the foreseeable future.

The bipartisan approach to endorsements is part of a “paradigm shift” that Johnson says has been underway in the Missouri labor movement since 2005, when Republican control in Jefferson City became absolute as a result of Matt Blunt’s 2004 victory for governor. The GOP had assumed power of the state Senate in 2001, and the state House in 2003 – ending decades of Democratic control.

Labor leaders began reaching out to Republicans, he said, to see who might be receptive to the union’s core issues, which include: prevailing wage, project labor agreements, workers compensation and strong public education.

The endorsed Republicans were generally supportive on such issues. They also largely opposed any efforts to bring “right to work” in Missouri, which would have barred closed union shops, or a related national campaign to bar paycheck deduction of union dues.

Such Republicans, explained Johnson, have been amenable to Missouri labor’s chief argument that -- in the case of closed-union shops, for example -- it’s up to employers to decide whether they agree with the pertinent union that all employees are required to join the union if a majority have approved it. The same is true for payroll deduction.

'Core issues' win out over hot button social issues

As a result, he said that Missouri labor is taking the position that “we are really in Jefferson City on behalf of the people who work and pay union dues.” That means the movement is taking a pragmatic approach to other matters.

Missouri unions, he said, are largely stepping away from using social issues – such as reproductive rights – as criteria for endorsements, even though unions have gotten involved in the issues. For example, Missouri labor had supported Nixon when he vetoed the bill – overridden by the General Assembly last week – that allows employers to decline to provide insurance coverage for abortions, contraception or sterilization.

In the case of Lembke, for example, Johnson explained that labor does have differences with him on some issues. Lembke, for example, is an outspoken opponent of abortion rights, and had co-led a filibuster a couple years ago aimed to reducing unemployment benefits.

But Johnson added, Lembke “stuck with us when he didn’t have to. We’re just being true to our word.”

On the congressional level, Emerson also “behind the scenes has been helpful to us.”

It also “doesn’t hurt” that she is married to Ron Gladney, a prominent St. Louis labor lawyer. Johnson said that Emerson doesn’t always agree with the union positions, but that that through her marriage, she has “better insight” into the labor point of view.

Looking ahead, Johnson – who is retiring in December – said he expects the Missouri AFL-CIO to retain its new political path: “We will not ignore either party.”

MISSOURI AFL-CIO COPE ENDORSEMENTS

GENERAL ELECTION 2012

U.S. PRESIDENT
Barack Obama (D)*

U.S. SENATE
Claire McCaskill (D)*

GOVERNOR:
Jeremiah (Jay) Nixon (D)*

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR:
Susan Montee (D)

SECRETARY OF STATE:
Jason Kander (D)

TREASURER:
Clint Zweifel (D)*

ATTORNEY GENERAL:
Chris Koster (D)*

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE:

1st William “Lacy” Clay (D)*

2nd OPEN

3rd NO ENDORSEMENT

4th Teresa Hensley (D)

5th Emanuel Cleaver II (D)*

6th OPEN

7th NO ENDORSEMENT

8th Jo Ann Emerson (R)*

MO STATE SENATE:

1st Jim Lembke (R)*

3rd Joseph Fallert, Jr. (D)

5th Jamilah Nasheed (D)

7th Jason Holsman (D)

9th Shalonn (Kiki) Curls (D)*

11th Paul LeVota (D)

13th Gina Walsh (D)

15th Eric Schmitt (R)*

17th Ryan Silvey (R)

19th Kurt Schaefer (R)*

21st David Pearce (R)*

23rd Tom Dempsey (R)*

25th Terry Swinger (D)

27th Wayne Wallingford (R)

29th NO ENDORSEMENT

31st Charlie Burton (D)

33rd NO ENDORSEMENT

MO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

1st NO ENDORSEMENT

2nd NO ENDORSEMENT

3rd Rebecca McClanahan (D)

4th NO ENDORSEMENT

5th Tom Shively (D)*

6th Diana Scott (D)

7th Harry Wyse (D)

8th Jim Crenshaw (D)

9th NO ENDORSEMENT

10th Pat Conway (D)*

11th Galen Higdon (R)*

12th Ken Wilson (R)

13th Nick Marshall (R)*

14th Ron Schieber (R)*

15th John Carpenter (D)

16th Jim Sweere (D)

17th Myron Neth (R)*

18th Jay Swearingen (D)*

19th John Rizzo (D)*

20th John Mayfield (D)

21st Ira Anders (D)*

22nd Brandon Ellington (D)*

23rd Randy Dunn (D)

24th Judy Morgan (D)*

25th Jeremy LaFaver (D)

26th Gail McCann Beatty (D)*

27th Bonnaye Mims (D)

28th Tom McDonald (D)*

29th Noel Torpey (R)*

30th Mike Cierpiot (R)*

31st Sheila Solon (R)*

32nd Jeanie Lauer (R)*

33rd OPEN

34th Jeff Grisamore (R)*

35th Gary Cross (R)*

36th Kevin McManus (D)*

37th Joe Runions (D)

38th T.J. Berry (R)*

39th Will Talbert (D)

40th Paul Quinn (D)*

41st Ed Schieffer (D)*

42nd Bart Korman (R)*

43rd OPEN

44th Ken Jacob (D)

45th Chris Kelly (D)*

46th Stephen Webber (D)*

47th John Wright (D)

48th OPEN

49th OPEN

50th NO ENDORSEMENT

51st Gary Grigsby (D)

52nd Phyllis Sue Domann (D)

53rd Holmes Osborne (D)

54th Nancy Maxwell (D)

55th Jim White (D)

56th Chris Molendorp (R)*

57th Don Bullock (D)

58th NO ENDORSEMENT

59th NO ENDORSEMENT

60th Thomas Minihan (D)<

61st NO ENDORSEMENT

62nd NO ENDORSEMENT

63rd Bill Stinson (D)

64st WayneHenke (D)

65st Anne Zerr (R)*

66st Tommie Pierson (D)*

67st Steve Webb (D)*

68st Keith English (D)

69st Margo McNeil (D)*

70th Bill Otto (D)

71st Susan Meredith (D)

72nd Mary Nichols (D)*

73rd Courtney Curtis (D)

74th Sharon Pace (D)*

75th Rochelle Walton Gray (D)*

76ht Chris Carter (D)*

77ht Kim Gardner (D)

78ht Penny Hubbard (D)*

79th Michael Butler (D)

80th Mike Colona (D)*

81st Jacob Hummel (D)*

82nd Michele Kratky (D)*

83rd Gina Mitten (D)

84th Karla May (D)*

85th Clem Smith (D)*

86th Rory Ellinger (D)*

87th OPEN

88th Jill Schupp (D)*

89th John Diehl (R)*

90th Deb Lavender (D)

91st Jeanne Kirkton (D)*

92nd Genise Montecillo (D)*

93rd Bob Burns (D)

94th Vicki Lorenz Englund (D)

95th Joe Zelle (D)

96th OPEN

97t John McCaherty (R)* Sam Komo (D)

98th NO ENDORSEMENT

99th OPEN

100th NO ENDORSEMENT

101st NO ENDORSEMENT

102nd John Callahan (D)

103rd Doug Funderburk (R)*

104th Terry Lesinski (D)

105th OPEN<

106th OPEN

107th Rod Hoffman (D)

108th NO ENDORSEMENT

109th Ann Schroeder (D)

110th OPEN

111t Mike Frame (D)

112th Paul Wieland (R)*

113th Jeff Roorda (D)

114th T.J. McKenna (D)

115th Rich McCane (D)

116th Kevin Engler (R)

117th Linda Black (D)*

118th Ben Harris (D)*

119th Dave Hinson (R)*

120th NO ENDORSEMENT

121st NO ENDORSEMENT

122nd NO ENDORSEMENT

123rd NO ENDORSEMENT

124th Rocky Miller (R)

125th NO ENDORSEMENT

126th NO ENDORSEMENT

127th NO ENDORSEMENT

128th NO ENDORSEMENT

129th NO ENDORSEMENT

130th OPEN

131st NO ENDORSEMENT

132nd Charlie Norr (D)

133rd OPEN

134th James Owen (D)

135th Casey Clark (D)

136th NO ENDORSEMENT

137th NO ENDORSEMENT

138th NO ENDORSEMENT

139th NO ENDORSEMENT

140th NO ENDORSEMENT

141st NO ENDORSEMENT

142nd NO ENDORSEMENT

143rd Shane Van Steenis (D)

144th Michael Jackson (D)

145th NO ENDORSEMENT

146th NO ENDORSEMENT

147th NO ENDORSEMENT

148th Bart Ziegenhorn (D)

149th Steve Hodges (D)*

150th Tom Todd (D)

151st Ryan Holder (D)

152nd NO ENDORSEMENT

153rd NO ENDORSEMENT

154th R.A. Pendergrass (D)

155th OPEN

156th NO ENDORSEMENT

157th; NO ENDORSEMENT

158th NO ENDORSEMENT

159th NO ENDORSEMENT

160th NO ENDORSEMENT

161st NO ENDORSEMENT

162nd NO ENDORSEMENT

163rd NO ENDORSEMENT

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