OPINION: Missouri’s workers, citizens are under siege

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By JOHN STIFFLER
Exec. Secretary-Treasurer
St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council

JOHN STIFFLER, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council, speaking at the Building Trades’ annual Leadership Awards dinner, called out the Republic-majority Missouri Legislature for reintroducing phony “right-to-work” legislation and trying to undermine voters’ passage of the Clean Missouri amendment. “Brothers and Sisters, we have our work cut out for us,” Stiffler said. “We have to roll up our sleeves once again to ward off the tendency of our members and the public to slip into complacency.” – Labor Tribune photo

(St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer John Stiffler delivered the following remarks at the Council’s annual Leadership Awards Dinner March 7 at The Cedars at St. Raymond’s. A story on the honorees appears on Page 1 of this edition.)

Once again Missouri’s workers, Missouri’s citizens are under siege.

We defeated the phony “right-to-work” at the ballot box, and yet the Republican-controlled Missouri Legislature has re-introduced it.

We won efforts to clean up Missouri politics, and the Republican-controlled legislature has introduced a bill to put it on the ballot under the lame guise that voters “didn’t understand what they were voting for.” Talk about ignoring the will of the people!

I could go on; over 100 anti-worker bills have been introduced in this session alone! Over 100!

The disturbing part of it all is the fact that so many of our members, who fought to defeat Prop A (“right-to-work”) and pass the Clean Missouri amendment, have voted time and time again to put the same legislators in office that are working to do them harm.

And, of course, we have a national election coming up in November. We all know the problems we’re having there.

TIME AGAIN TO ROLL UP OUR SLEEVES
Brothers and Sisters, we have our work cut out for us. We have to roll up our sleeves once again to ward off the tendency of our members and the public to slip into complacency.

I firmly believe that the only way for Missouri and America to benefit EVERYONE is to have BALANCE in our political structures. With the Republicans in control all of the key elements of government, as they are now in Missouri and Washington, the Middle Class — our Brothers and Sisters — are being shortchanged over and over again.

We need to re-double our efforts at educating our membership and our family and friends to the threats we all face unless we make changes this year to ensure a BALANCE of power. And that means more Democrats in elected positions at the federal, state and local levels.

WE DO HAVE FRIENDS
Please understand, I’m not condemning ALL Republicans. We do have a few Republican friends in our Missouri Legislature, but unfortunately too few who are willing to look at the merits of issues, and not just party affiliation.

Making change at every level of government is the challenge for all of us. Much is at stake this year but I’m confident that the leadership in this room is up to the task.

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