Union members are making themselves heard, need to keep up the pressure
By TIM ROWDEN
Jefferson City – Thanks to the efforts of union members and their supporters lobbying legislators, making phone calls and emailing their representatives, a paycheck deception bill that moved out of a House committee did not come up on the House floor before representatives left town for their annual spring recess.
The House has also stalled on so-called right-to-work, but Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) said he hopes to get it on the floor calendar when representatives return next week.
“We're sending a strong and consistent message to Jefferson City politicians that Missourians are opposed to paycheck deception and right-to-work bills,” said President of the Missouri AFL-CIO Hugh McVey. “But we have to be persistent. We have to let our representatives know that we want them to focus on jobs, not attacking workers.”
The paycheck deception measure, HB1617 sponsored by Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) would require annual written authorization for unions to withhold dues, fair share fees or political contribution fees from the paychecks of public employees. It is a rehash of the same unfair bill that was introduced last year to limit the rights and silence the voices of hardworking nurses, teachers, snowplow drivers and other public workers.
Although proponents call it “paycheck protection,” under the law, any union member already can opt out of having deductions from their paycheck or refuse to support political contributions through their union. Paycheck deception does nothing for unionized workers, but create burdensome and costly restrictions meant to interfere with workers’ and their unions’ right to participate in the political and legislative process.
Many already have taken the opportunity to call, email and lobby their legislators on paycheck deception and right-to-work/Freedom to Work/Workplace Freedom and other deceptively named anti-worker measures.
That’s important, because at least nine right-to-work bills are waiting for consideration in the State Capitol.
“I'm proud to say that working people from across the state are speaking up and demanding their elected officials start focusing on jobs instead of these unnecessary attacks like right-to-work and paycheck deception,” said Missouri AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Mike Louis. “The continued bipartisan opposition to these bills is heartening. Let's hope House leaders start listening and refocusing their priorities.”
Many union members, including AFSCME and SEIU members, traveled to Jefferson City last week for a Day-of-Action to lobby their representatives against these phony measures.
“Right-to-work and paycheck deception are strictly an attack on our rights to have our voices heard on the job,” said Donna Howard, an SEIU Local 1 member from Higginsville. “Our legislators should know that we need them to focus on creating jobs, not attacking workers.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
You can stop misleading, anti-worker measures like right-to-work and paycheck deception in their tracks by calling 888-825-1418 to be connected with your representative and urge them to vote against these unfair and deceitful measures.