Anti-worker forces in the Missouri Legislature took square aim at public sector employees by forcing through a paycheck deception bill that will require workers to “opt-in” or sign-off annually on having union dues or other fees withheld from their paychecks.
If state workers have a problem with that, they’ll probably have to keep it to themselves because legislators passed a separate bill that makes them “at will” employees, who can be fired at any time for any reason, or no reason at all.
The paycheck deception measure, sponsored by Rep. Jered Taylor (R-Nixa) and Sen. Bob Onder (R-Lake St. Louis), requires government employees – other than fire fighters, police and other first-responders–to opt in annually to have their union dues withdrawn from their paychecks.
“This will result in weaker collective bargaining for what are already the lowest paid state employees,” said Sen. Scott Sifton (D-Affton) referring to the low pay for Missouri’s public employees.
“You’re not a friend of union workers,” Senator Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) told Onder.
“The underlying purpose of this bill is to weaken public sector unions,” said Sen. Gina Walsh (D-Bellefontaine Neighbors), a retired member of Heat & Frost Insulators Local 1 and president of the Missouri State Building & Construction Trades Council.
“When you weaken the unions, it affects their ability to bargain and negotiate collectively for decent wages and benefits and safety,” said Sen. Jill Schupp (D-Creve Coeur).
Sen. Jake Hummel (D-St. Louis) a member of IBEW Local 1 and secretary-treasurer of the Missouri AFL-CIO, called the bill a play right out of the playbook by ALEC and other conservative groups, seeking to strip rights from the workers.
“All of the power does not need to be on one side of the table,” Hummel said.