Senate backs off anti-union legislation – for now

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[frame src="https://labortribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/McKenna.jpeg" width="130" height="170" align="left" style="2" linkstyle="none" title="McKenna"]Jefferson City – The Republican caucus in the Missouri Senate appears to have backed off – at least for now – in its attack on working families.

Anti-worker bills which were scheduled as the Senate’s first order of business last month were instead moved to the informal calendar after only one of the measures – a so-called “paycheck protection” bill – was stopped in its tracks by a Democratic filibuster that prevented the bill from coming to a vote.

At the end of the day, the so-called “paycheck protection” bill and other anti-union legislation were laid over on the Senate’s informal calendar.

No immediate action was planned on the measures, but that doesn’t mean the fight is over. Sen. Ryan McKenna, (D-Crystal City), said the bills could be brought up at any time.

“I’m not real optimistic about them just backing away from this,” McKenna said. “They’ll get to it.”

Indeed, Todd Scott, chief of staff for Sen. Tom Dempsey, (R-Charles), the majority floor leader, predicts all of the bills will be heard this session.

“I think most of those bills, probably all of those bills that you see on the informal calendar probably will come up on the Senate floor,” Scott said.

The bills include

· Two right-to-work (for less) bills that would prohibit union contracts that require

union dues be paid by everyone covered by a union contract, even workers who do not join the union but get the union benefits.

· Two bills that would prevent the use of prevailing wages that have been found to be

a positive benefit for workers and the state’s economy. One of the bills would also prevent the use of Project Labor Agreements, the labor management contracts that promote union construction by prohibiting strikes and work stoppages.

· The so-called “paycheck protection” bill. It would bar automatic payroll deduction

of union dues from paychecks and require individual authorization from members to use dues and fees to make political contributions.

ALL ABOUT THE MONEY

McKenna, a member of Laborers Local 110, notes that procedures are already in

place for union members to request that their dues not go to a particular political campaign. The real aim of the bill, he says, is to make it more onerous for unions to collect those dues in the first place, thus weakening their ability to fight for members’ rights.

The prevailing wage bills, he said, are aimed at reducing wages, while the two right-to-work (for less) measures are aimed are reducing union membership.

Radical business organizations around the country, with the help of the state Chambers of Commerce, are promoting right-to-work (for less) and related bills in at least a dozen states this year in what is a concerted effort by the radical Republican right to reduce the political influence of unions ahead of the November elections.

“This isn’t just limited to Missouri,” McKenna said. “This is an effort nationwide to reduce organized labor’s strength. It’s all about the money.”

RTW IN OTHER STATES

Indiana’s Senate this month passed – and Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels

signed – a hotly debated right-to-work (for less) law, making it the first state in more than a decade, and the first in the union-heavy Rust Belt, to enact right-to-work legislation.

Indiana union members, led by the state’s AFL-CIO, marched in protest of law’s passage on Feb.1. On Super Bowl Sunday, a small group of activists marched to Lucas Oil Stadium, where the game was played, to quietly protest the new RTW law.

Meanwhile in Arizona – already a right-to-work (for less) state – legislators have introduced four anti-union bills. The bills ban collective bargaining by all public unions, including fire fighters and police, and would prohibit state and local government workers from taking money from their own paychecks to pay union dues.

Democrats and unions in Wisconsin are hoping to recall Republican

Governor Scott Walker after he championed a new law that severely restricted collective bargaining powers of public sector unions in that state.

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