The Labor Tribune

Labor News From Our Region

Anti-union Democrat Courtney Curtis takes $50,000 from anti-union Humphreys family

WHO’S FOOLING WHO? Democratic Representative Courtney Curtis, the only African-American legislator to vote for right-to-work, says he’s free from special interest money yet he accepted $50,000 from the rabidly anti-union Humphreys family, owners of the notoriously anti-union TAMKO Building Products of Joplin. Curtis is up for re-election in the Aug. 2 primary.

WHO’S FOOLING WHO? Democratic Representative Courtney Curtis, the only African-American legislator to vote for right-to-work, says he’s free from special interest money yet he accepted $50,000 from the rabidly anti-union Humphreys family, owners of the notoriously anti-union TAMKO Building Products of Joplin. Curtis is up for re-election in the Aug. 2 primary.

Only African-American to support right-to-work

In a debate several months ago before a church group, Democratic Representative Courtney Curtis told Labor Tribune Publisher Ed Finkelstein, his debate opponent, that ALL the African-American members of the Missouri Legislature, except him, voted against right-to-work because they were “paid off” with hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from unions while he was the single black legislator who didn’t take any special interest money, especially from the unions, and voted FOR right-to-work as a protest against the building trades for lack of inclusion.

Finkelstein called him out on his accusation that every member of the Black Caucus in the House of Representatives and Senate was on the take from the unions, pointing out it was absolutely a lie. When asked to produce evidence, he simply shrugged.

“You should be ashamed of yourself for making such an outrageous charge without evidence,” Finkelstein shot back, pointing out the building trades efforts to actively promote inclusion for African-Americans, women and other minorities in the trades. Curtis shrugged again.

Now it comes to light that Rep. Curtis (D-73rd in the City of St. Louis) has received a $50,000 campaign donation from the notoriously anti-union hater, TAMKO Building Products last month; $25,000 from TAMKO CEO David Humphreys, $25,000 from his sister, Sara Atkins. Readers can decide the motivation.

Humphreys is the person financing the million-dollar anti-union, offensive radio and TV campaign urging union members to decertify from their union, which would make the union weaker and less viable to fight such anti-union, anti-worker employers. He also backed the dark money group that put up negative billboards in the district’s of Republican lawmakers who had the courage of their conscience to vote against right-to-work in support of Missouri’s working families.

In the upcoming August 2 primary, there are three solid worker-friendly Democrats challenging Curtis. They are:

  • Dan Wibracht, a third generation member of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562. He comes from a dedicated union family.
  • Lee Smith, a charter member, and former chief steward and ultimately business manager of IBEW Local 2352 at Westinghouse Electric Corp., until his retirement.
  • Eileen Grant McGeoghegan, a former state representative and former member of the St. Ann Board of Aldermen. Her husband is a retired carpenter.

The St. Louis Labor Council’s COPE has left the race open as all three are solid pro-worker candidates. The concern, however, is that the three will split the anti-Curtis vote allowing him to crawl back into the legislature to again fight against working people.

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