St. Louis - “These laws are goody bags for millionaires and a bill of goods for the rest of us…. Let’s go fight!”
With those stark words, Joe Hansen, general president of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), laid bare the truth about the efforts of the Missouri legislature to pass a host of anti-worker laws – notably right-to-work (for less) and paycheck deception – that “are an attack on our fundamental rights.”
Speaking to hundreds of shop stewards attending UFCW Local 655’s annual Shop Stewards Educational Conference here, Hansen had a message for all union families as well as all workers in Missouri:
“These laws are shams that provide no new rights and no new work!”
And for emphasis, noting that Local 655 is about to begin bargaining its major food contracts with Schnucks, Dierbergs and Shop ‘N Save, Hansen added: “We will bargain in good faith with the Big 3 on a new contract (but) what we will not do is negotiate with Missouri politicians on our fundamental rights!” The stewards responded with thundering applause and hooting.
“Make no mistake, our employers are watching with a keen eye to see what happens in Jefferson City. They want to know if we will come to the bargaining table with one hand tied behind our back.
“This is not a negotiation,” he said referring to the anti-union legislative efforts now underway in Jefferson City sponsored by Republican legislators, “it is a fight. It is a fight we must win.”
He pledged the support of the UFCW to help Missouri workers. Hansen had high praise for Local 655’s President Dave Cook and Secretary-Treasurer David Politte for the leadership they have shown not only in this fight, but in “building one of the best UFCW locals in America.”
ABOUT RIGHT-TO-WORK (FOR LESS)
Hansen urged every shop steward to take the message of what these laws really mean to their workplaces, to their co-workers, to their family and friends.
First he spoke to right-to-work (now being phrased as “freedom to work”). “I call it NO rights at work.”
This law is “designed for a single purpose: to give more money and power to CEOs at the expense of workers:
• “At your expense;
• “At the expense of your family;
• “At the expense of our economy.”
He then pointed out other basic truths about this anti-worker law now in effect in other states:
• There is no evidence that it creates more jobs;
• The average worker makes thousands of dollars a year less;
• Workers are more likely to be uninsured;
• Workplace deaths are 36 percent higher.
“The truth is ordinary people are much worse off in no rights at work states. Missouri deserves better.”
He next turned to the issue the Republicans call “paycheck protection” but “it’s really paycheck deception,” Hansen stressed.
“It would deny union members, and only union members, the right to speak out on issues that concern working families. It’s a partisan, one-sided attack on the ability of workers to stand together and bargain for a better life.”
CLEVER NAMES DISGUISING DISASTER
“Each of these bills has nice names. Everyone supports the right to work. We all believe our paychecks should be protected.
“But when you get past the clever title, the truth is clear: this is nothing more than another desperate attempt by corporate special interests to legislate unions out of existence, to tear at the very fabric of our existence.”
He urged the stewards, all union members, to speak out against these vicious attacks, to join neighborhood canvassing that’s underway across Missouri, to speak directly to their legislators, to share their stories at town hall meetings, and spread the truth via Facebook and other social media.
Best response to Republican lies: ‘Oh please!’
St. Louis - “Oh please!”
Echoing the sarcastic phrase that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch used in an editorial to criticize the phony phrases Republican lawmakers are using sugarcoat and deceive Missourians over their efforts to destroy unions, UFCW International Vice President and Chicago UFCW Local 881 Secretary-Treasurer Steve Powell pointed out to UFCW Local 655 shop stewards meeting that “the true motivating factor for these Republicans is greed.“
“Responding to the claim that unions have hurt the Missouri economy, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch put it best, saying simple: ‘Oh please!’”
To that he added:
• “When Missouri Republicans tell you no rights at work will create jobs, you tell them: ‘Oh please!’
• “When they claim the government should determine how you spend your paycheck, you say: ‘Oh please!’
• When they declare this isn’t’ about union members but protecting all Missouri workers, respond: ‘Oh please!’
Let Missouri lawmakers know that you:
• Will not allow (them) to attack us simply for exercising our rights.
• Will not be silent;
• Will not back down;
• You will not rest until these anti-workers bills go down in defeat.