Jefferson City – As Missouri’s new legislative session convened for the 2013 session this month, the Missouri AFL-CIO’s new Secretary Treasurer Mike Louis said it’s time for Missouri’s leaders to refocus and get back on track to rebuilding the state’s economy.
“Our elected leaders have an opportunity to pursue legislation that will move Missouri forward and create an economy that works for all,” said Louis, the state federation’s lead lobbyist in Jefferson City. “At a time when the economy continues struggling to recover and many families are still waiting for employment to pick up, Missourians need more economic security, not less. Divisive issues like so called ‘right-to-work’ and attacks on middle class wages won’t rebuild our state’s economy.”
ANTI-WORKER BILLS ALREADY CLOUDING SESSION
Unfortunately, several anti-worker bills had already been pre-filed for the legislative session, promising more of the same from Missouri’s Republican controlled legislature, Louis told the Labor Tribune .
Louis said the pre-filed bills include measures addressing “right-to-work” (for less), paycheck deception, a measure repealing all prevailing wage laws, a measure modifying prevailing wage determinations, a measure on workers’ compensation that includes provisions hurtful to workers and a measure barring employers from negotiating closed shop clauses with their unions, which is essentially “right-to-work” under a different heading.
“What all of these bills are aimed at is weakening the union worker’s voice,” Louis told the Labor Tribune.
“Instead of another year of tired attacks on middle class Missourians, elected officials of both parties should take this opportunity to support job creation and an economy that works for working people, including investing in our airports to encourage trade for Missouri, Medicaid expansion and investing in our energy infrastructure,” Louis said.
Missouri lawmakers returned Jan. 9 to the state Capitol for a session that runs through mid-May. Republicans expanded their majority in the state House in the November election, and a unified GOP caucus now can override a gubernatorial veto without Democratic support.
Much as was the case last year, Louis said labor leaders find themselves in a position of playing defense and reaching across the aisle in the House and Senate to build alliances with GOP representatives and senators who understand that organized labor is the backbone of the middle class.
“Extreme legislation like ‘paycheck deception’ and so-called ‘right to work,” and attempts to undermine wages for Missouri workers are not the way to build our state’s economy.” Louis said. “Instead, it is time to focus on the things that all Missourians care about: high-quality public education for our children, good jobs and wages that can support our families, expanded access to healthcare, and investments to rebuild our infrastructure. This new session is an opportunity for Missouri leaders to refocus and get back on track to rebuilding our state’s economy.”