By SHERI GASSAWAY
In Missouri, legislative discussion and voting on measures is unpredictable. It can take days for a bill to hit the floor or it can happen at lightning speed. The latter was the case with the recent vote on paycheck deception (HB 1891).
The Missouri AFL-CIO learned of the anti-worker bill moving through the Senate just a few short days before the final vote was cast. That knowledge prompted a call for the first of what will be many Front Porch meetings of the 2016 legislative session.
The Tuesday, March 1 union member-to-member walk focused on the districts of two Republican senators – Paul Wieland (Imperial) and Ryan Silvey (Kansas City). Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis sent out the urgent call to action, urging union members to bring as many volunteers to the event as they could
“We really need a huge turn out to show senators Wieland and Silvey that we appreciate their position of standing with workers,” Louis said.
The effort was at least partly successful. Wieland voted against the measure. Silvey, however, followed his party’s line and voted for it.
Union members in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas turned out in full force for the canvasses. Participants were given names and addresses of union members living in close proximity and folders containing “paycheck deception” talking points. Union members went door-to door asking other union members to write notes to their senators asking them to vote “no” on the paycheck deception measure.
More than 150 letters and postcards were collected from both sides of the state, said Merri Berry, Missouri AFL-CIO political director. “We immediately drove to the State Capital in Jefferson City to deliver them to the senators., she said”
MORE FRONT PORCH MEETINGS TO COME
Berry said there would be many more Front Porch meetings pertaining to the 2016 legislative session. For more information on the canvasses or to get involved, email Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org.