By TIM ROWDEN
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the Democratic candidate for governor in 2016, visited with members of Laborers Local 42 last week, urging members to get out and vote to protect the wages and benefits they and generations before them have fought for and earned.
Union members getting out to vote can make the difference, Koster said. Without them, the balance of power in the legislature will likely get worse, he said, and a Republican will be seated in the governor’s mansion.
That would be particularly bad for union members, as every Republican candidate for governor has voiced their support for right-to-work and other anti-worker legislation.
“The other party’s efforts to tamper with the wages and hours of everyone across this state are the highest that I’ve ever seen,” Koster said. “And we can’t let them get away with it.
“Right-to-work, prevailing wage, card check and collective bargaining are all on the line if a Republican wins,” Koster said. “Everything that generations have worked for in this state will be lost.”
To prevent that, he said, will require union members going to the polls and casting a ballot on Election Day, something too many union members have failed to do in recent elections.
“Organized Labor does good,” Koster said. “But Organized Labor has not supplied the votes it is capable of supplying in the last 15 years.”
This was the first holiday meeting of the Local 42 since Laborers Local 53 voluntarily merged with 42 earlier this year. Local 42 now has a membership of roughly 1,850 and a territorial jurisdiction covering roughly the northern two-thirds of St. Louis City and County.
“We appreciate Attorney General Koster taking the time to come and speak to our members,” Local 42 Business Manager Brandon Flinn said. “It’s important for all of our members – journeymen and apprentices – to understand how important this next election is to their jobs, wages, benefits and future. Everything we, our fathers and grandfathers have worked for is on the line.”