By TIM ROWDEN
Jefferson City – Seeking to extend this legislative session’s attacks on unions into the summer, a coalition of conservative organizations wants top Missouri Republican senators to push for yet another special legislative session – this time to force through legislation requiring union members to vote in annual recertification elections.
Eight right-wing groups — spearheaded by Americans for Prosperity, the nonprofit anti-union organization funded by conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch — sent a letter to three virulently anti-union members of GOP Senate leadership: President Pro Tem Ron Richard (R-Joplin), Majority Leader Mike Kehoe and Assistant Majority Leader Bob Onder (R-St. Charles). The letter urges them to encourage Gov. Eric Greitens to call yet another taxpayer-funded special session to take up the anti-union measure.
“Requiring regular elections to recertify public unions ensures every worker has a voice and keeps unions accountable and competitive to the workers they represent,” the letter says. “Enacting this reform would put Missouri on the cutting edge.”
RACE TO THE BOTTOM
What it would do is accelerate Missouri’s race to the bottom, further hampering unions following this year’s passage of so-called “right-to-work” and ban on Project Labor Agreements, by requiring them to spend extraordinary amounts of time and money organizing and holding annual recertification elections.
Mandatory union recertification was one provision in a sweeping “labor reform” bill handled earlier this year by Representative Jered Taylor (R-Nixa). That bill passed the House but died in the Senate after the union recertification language was attached.
Besides Americans for Prosperity, the letter to legislators was signed by representatives of seven other organizations:
• 60 Plus Association, a nonprofit pro-seniors group with ties to the Koch Brothers.
• Competitive Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit libertarian think tank.
• Frontiers of Freedom, a conservative think tank.
• Institute for Liberty, a think tank opposing government regulations.
• Less Government, a nonprofit that advocates for smaller government.
• National Taxpayers Union, a nonprofit, conservative tax reform advocacy group.
• Taxpayer Protection Alliance, a nonprofit tax reform with apparent ties to the Koch brothers.
SPECIAL SESSIONS COST TAXPAYERS
Greitens already has called two special sessions this year.
The first resulted in legislation the governor signed last week meant to open up a steel mill and aluminum smelter in southeast Missouri. Greitens had also sought changes to ratemaking for utilities, but that was eventually abandoned in the interests of passing the legislation.
The second special session was called to pass abortion restrictions and to undo a St. Louis non-discrimination ordinance that bans employers and landlords from discriminating against women who have had an abortion, use contraceptives or are pregnant.
A special session costs as much as $28,000 a week in the Senate and between $50,000 and $100,000 in the House, depending on how many lawmakers attend.
That’s chump change for the Koch Brothers, who have little compunction about running up the tab for taxpayers to beat down Missouri workers.