by MIKE LOUIS
Jefferson City – The first shot has been fired at Organized Labor here in Missouri. In actions taken by the Missouri House of Representatives, a bill that guts prevailing wage laws was passed and sent to the Missouri Senate.
The bill exempts certain work from prevailing wage rates. Democrats were led by Minority Leader Jake Hummel from St. Louis, who said the bill would have horrific effects on middle class Missourians trying to make a living.
But after only about one hour of debate, a motion was made to call the “previous question” (PQ), which ended the floor debate and paved the way for the final vote.
Within the next few minutes, by a vote of 89 to 59, House Bill 34 was perfected and ready to be voted on sometime in the future. At this point in a House bill’s life there are certain rules that change. For example, and most importantly, no more ideas for compromise are allowed to be added as amendments to the Bill. That “sometime” is decided by the House Majority Leadership.
Guess when “sometime in the future” was – the very next morning! On Thursday morning, February 28, the Majority Leadership brought HB34 back to the floor for third reading and final passage.
The bill passed on a strict party line vote of 89-59, except for 10 Republicans who voted with Democrats against the measure. (See the list of Republicans who voted with Democrats against the bill at the end of this article.)
Sisters and Brothers, it is time we make our voices heard against those who dare defy the ability of middle class Missourians to earn a living and raise their families with dignity.
Please review the list at the end of this article. If your Republican state representative is not on the list of those who voted against this measure, please let him or her know of your dissatisfaction with the decision they have made to reduce your wages and benefits. Tell them with either a phone call or a short letter.
If your state representative, Republican or Democrat is among those who voted against HB34, please take the time to thank him or her for their support.
If you are unsure of whom your State Representative is, it is easy to find out. Go to this website and follow the link to find your representative: www.house.mo.gov.
If we as the Labor Movement choose not take this act by these legislators as an act of war, we certainly are in for many more battles that will take away our strength and ability to earn a wage and benefit that we have fought for over many generations.
Be prepared in the very near future, when your union calls on you, to lay aside your personal time and join in the march with union sisters and brothers, no matter what it takes, to make our voices and votes heard throughout the state and the entire country…. Missouri Workers are not going to take it anymore!
REPUBLICANS WHO VOTED AGAINST HB 34
Republicans who joined the Democrats in voting against the bill included T.J. Berry of Kearney; Elaine Gannon of DeSoto; Bart Korman of High Hill; John McCaherty of High Ridge; Chris Molendorp of Belton; Myron Neth of Liberty; Sheila Solon of Liberty; Noel Torpey of Independence; Paul Wieland of Imperial; and Ann Zerr of St.Charles.