Washington – Missouri state Senator Bob Onder (R-Lake St. Louis) was on Capitol Hill last week testifying before Congress against a pair of bills that would strengthen collective bargaining for public unions.
One of the measures would set a nationwide standard for collective bargaining all states would have to adhere to while ensuring all public sector employees could participate in collective bargaining. The other bill would give public safety officers the right to form labor unions and collectively bargain.
Onder testified in opposition to both bills before the House Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee June 26, arguing it should be up to individual states to establish their labor laws.
‘DISAPPOINTING’ AND ‘OFFENSIVE’
Out of six witnesses, Onder was one of only two to speak in opposition to the bills, drawing the ire of U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa), a sponsor of HR 3463, dubbed the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act.
As the daughter of parents who were involved with unions and a former state lawmaker who advocated for unions, Finkenauer called Onder out, calling his testimony “disappointing” and “offensive.”
“Senator Onder, you are a neighbor to my home state of Iowa,” Finkenauer said. “I have to tell you, I’ve done some research while I’ve been up here, and your rhetoric you’ve been spewing against unions and also your record against working families is disappointing and quite frankly offensive.”
HISTORY OF ANTI-WORKER UNION BASHING
Onder championed a “paycheck protection” bill (HB 1413) last year that required annual consent before unions could withhold dues and political contributions from paychecks. The “paycheck deception” measure is designed to tie unions up in red tape and added expenses and backdoor “right-to-work” into the bargaining process. It was signed by then-Gov. Eric Greitens in 2018, but a St. Louis County judge halted it from going into effect earlier this year, pending the outcome of ongoing litigation.
Organized Labor has challenged the legislation, arguing it places undue restraints on an employee’s collective bargaining abilities in the state.
Missouri voters last year defeated Prop A, a so-called “right-to-work” measure also championed by Onder, which would have prohibited employers from negotiating contracts that require employee in union-represented businesses to pay union dues or a smaller “fair share” fee to cover the union’s cost of representation and negotiation.
Missouri is one of only four states that expressly protects collective bargaining in its constitution, stating that “employees shall have the right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.”
(Information from the Missouri Times.)