Jefferson City – The issue of right-to-work in the new session of the Missouri legislature was a key issue for discussion in a new weekly political news program launched Dec. 21 – “This Week In Missouri Politics,” sponsored by The Missouri Times.
“Without a doubt, as we have increased our majority, I think labor issues will come out – paycheck protection, right-to-work – issues the conservative base in (Missouri) wants to see passed in Missouri, especially now that we have a supermajority (in both houses of the legislature),” stressed Representative Shelley Keeney (R-Marble Hill), one of the four panelists.
Representing the view of working men and women, Jeff Aboussie, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building Trades Council, pointed out that there are a number of pro-working family/pro-union Republicans in the legislature who think creating jobs and improving the state’s infrastructure are more important issues than tearing down the wages and conditions of the state’s workers.
MORE IMPORTANT ISSUES
“I think there are more important things to work on,” Aboussie said in response to a query by program host Scott Faughn, publisher of The Missouri Times as to whether or not many Republicans really want RTW to be a major issue.
“Do you think… that inside the (Republican) caucus there are a large number of pro-labor Republicans who might not want those (anti-worker, anti-labor) issues to be first on their agenda?” Faughn asked.
You have to keep in mind, Aboussie said, “there is still a strong union density in many rural areas, particularly in the construction industry, men and women who travel to the cities to work. They may have voted Republican, but they are deeply concerned about anti-worker legislation because it impacts them.”
Also appearing, as panelists on the first program, were Attorney Jane Dueker and Vice President of Public Relations for Victory Enterprises Joe Lakin.
The program also included Senator Eric Schmitt (R-Glendale) discussing his proposal to reform Missouri’s municipal courts,
“This Week In Missouri Politics” airs at 11 a.m. on Sundays on KDNL, ABC 30, and covers politics and public policy in Missouri. It currently airs only in St. Louis but is expected to expand statewide in the coming months.
The Missouri Times was co-founded by Faughn and former Republican speaker of the House Rod Jetton.
‘RTW weakens workers’ rights,’ St. Louis Rabbinical Association says in opposing anti-worker law
The St. Louis Rabbinical Association, by a unanimous vote, has joined a myriad of faith groups across Missouri voicing strong opposition to the state legislature’s attempt to pass a right-to-work law in Missouri – once again.
In a statement, the Rabbinical Association was direct and forceful:
“The right of freely founding unions for working people and the right of those working people to bargain collectively are essential for economic justice.
“So called, ‘Right to Work/Freedom to Work’ laws proposed under the guise of freedom to the individual workers actually weaken their ability to equally bargain for fair compensation in the workplace.
“We feel that the proposals are anti-union in their intent and render impossible or at least weaken the process of collective bargaining between management and labor.”
Noting that “Working for economic justice is a key ethic of the Jewish tradition,” the rabbis’ added:
“Our heritage, from the time of the Torah to the present day has always defended the right of the individual worker to human dignity. The Jewish community was deeply involved in the formation of the American Labor Union movement.
“The Saint Louis Rabbinical Association is opposed to “Right to Work/Freedom to Work” legislation and referendum, as … proposed in the … Missouri Legislature.”
MANY FAITHS OPPOSED
The Rabbinical Association joins other major faith groups in opposing this anti-worker law.
They include, among others, the Missouri Catholic Conference, the Archdiocesan Human Rights Commission, Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis, African Methodist Episcopal Church, Baptist General Convention of Missouri, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Jewish Labor Committee and Catholic Scholars for Workers Justice.
The faith community, in taking this strong stand against RTW, echoes exactly what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said about this issue:
“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right-to-work.’ It provides no ‘right’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor and the Freedom of collective bargaining...We demand this fraud be stopped.”
Dr. King made the point: “Our needs are identical with labor’s needs – decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children and respect in the community.”