Jefferson City – More than 200 public sector employees from throughout Missouri rallied on the steps of the State Capitol March 27 to protest recently passed paycheck deception measures and other anti-union legislation and state worker cuts.
The Missouri House and Senate have both passed paycheck deception bills (HB64 and SB29), which are awaiting further actions in each chamber. The House Government Workforce Development and Workplace Safety Committee was set to take up SB29 in a hearing Wednesday prior to Labor Tribune press time. SB29 and HB64 would bar public employee unions from automatically deducting dues from workers’ paychecks without written consent
Mike Louis, secretary treasurer of the Missouri AFL-CIO, spoke out against both bills at the rally on the south lawn of the Capitol.
“Our fight against paycheck deception is part of a long struggle,” Louis said. “But it’s a struggle to get you full collective bargaining rights like you should have.”
Public sector workers attending the rally included members of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 6355, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) District Council 72. The various unions represent workers in the state departments of social services, family services, mental health, probation and parole and home health care workers, among others.
“There’s an all out assault on public workers all over the country,” Brooks Sunkett, CWA sector vice president for public, health care and education workers said. “In state after state the attack is on against public services and the public workers who provide them.”
After hearing from various speakers, the workers went inside the Capitol to lobby their legislators against the anti-worker legislation and ongoing cuts to public services in the state budget.
Nancy Cross, vice president of SEIU Local 1, said more than 5,700 state employees have been cut since 2008.
“Our struggles as state workers and people living in the state of Missouri have been compounded since the economic crash, and our state has elected to solve the budget problems solely by cutting essential state services,” Cross said. “That’s the wrong track for Missouri to be on.”