By TIM ROWDEN
Jefferson City – The Missouri Senate has sustained Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a paycheck deception bill by a vote of 22-to-10, putting the measure to rest, at least until next year’s session. Twenty-three votes would have been needed to override the Governor’s veto.
“We thank and applaud the members of the Missouri Senate who stood up for working people and voted to sustain Governor Nixon’s veto of this flawed paycheck deception bill,” said Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO. “The sole purpose of this legislation was to weaken and ultimately silence the voices of those who speak up for working families.”
House Bill 1891 would've required public employees other than first responders to opt in each year for union dues to be taken out of their paychecks, requiring employees such as nurses, teachers, social workers and other public workers to give annual written consent for money to be taken out of their paychecks to support their union.
See previous coverage:
- Missouri House overrides Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of paycheck deception
- Nixon vetoes paycheck deception bill
- Missouri Senate passes paycheck deception
- Missouri House passes disingenuous paycheck deception bill
Unnecessary paycheck deception attacks, like those proposed in HB 1891, are the first step towards turning Missouri into a so-called 'right to work' state – hurting all of our families and Missouri’s economy.
EFFORT TO DEFEAT
Thousands of union members lobbied against the bill and the veto override during a rally in Jefferson City on March 30, as well as making phone calls and sending letters to their senators and representatives.
AFSCME members like Travis Case, a shopkeeper employed in the Missouri Department of Corrections, and Malissa Parker, a certified nursing assistant at the Missouri Veterans Nursing Center, called their legislators, wrote letters, sent emails and signed petitions opposing the legislation. Hundreds of AFSCME members joined other union members and allies for the March rally.
Missouri Jobs with Justice delivered nearly 400 letters from faith and community leaders to members of the Missouri Legislature, moved prominent community allies to speak out against attacks on workers, and testified against the legislation.
Now that the legislative session has ended, Louis said the focus must be on this fall’s election and supporting worker-friendly candidates.
“We know that big corporations won’t stop in their efforts to silence the voices of working people,” Louis said. “So we will focus our efforts on electing candidates this November that will support all working families and oppose legislation like paycheck deception.”
Senate Democrats led by and Senate Minority Floor Leader Joe Keaveny (D-St. Louis) and state Senator Gina Walsh (D-Bellefontaine Neighbors), a retired member of Heat and Frost Insulators Local 1, filibustered the bill for nearly four hours before letting it come to a vote shortly after midnight.
The 22-10 vote fell one vote shy of a two-thirds majority needed to override the Governor’s veto. Two Republicans – Sens. Ryan Silvey of Kansas City and Gary Romine of Farmington – joined with the chamber's eight Democrats to oppose the measure.
Sen. Paul Wieland (R-Imperial) was a "no" vote earlier in the session, but switched his vote. Silvey and Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-University City) voted "yes" initially to pass the bill, but switched their votes on the veto override.
Keaveny said the bill attacking working Missourians was unnecessary “in more ways than one.”
“In my opinion they were attacking the people that least deserve to be attacked,” Keaveny said. Most of these jobs are barely middle class jobs. In fact, they’re less than middle class. The health care workers and social workers and janitors. I guess they decided to pick on people that can least defend themselves and I’m glad they weren’t successful.”
“I’m grateful for those folks that came to our side from other other side of aisle,” Keaveny said. “I’m glad they recognized this for what it was.”
Walsh said the bill was bad for Missouri’s working families and, by weakening unions, would have created a bigger divide between the haves and the have-nots.
“It’s mean-spirited and has no place in the Missouri Legislature,” Walsh said. “America was founded on people bettering themselves and getting together to organize and bargain collectively, just like we do, for better hours and wages and health care. We have philosophical differences in the Legislature, and I respect that, but I’m not going to sit down when working men and women of this state are under attack.”
‘THANK YOU’ TO SENATORS
SEIU Missouri State Council, which represents home care and child care providers, janitors, adjunct professors, and other working families, applauded the defeat of the paycheck measure and issued the following statement:
“Implementing paycheck deception would suppress the voices of hardworking community leaders like teachers and nurses at the expense of wealthy special interests. It would put our state on the path leading towards right to work and lower wages for the working people who can afford it least.
“The home care and child care providers, janitors, adjunct professors, and other working families of the Service Employees International Union thank the bipartisan group of senators who voted to sustain the governor’s sensible veto.”