By TIM ROWDEN
The St. Louis Board of Aldermen and the Kansas City Council have passed resolutions supporting efforts to repeal Missouri’s so-called “right-to-work” law, adding the state’s two major cities to the growing chorus calling for Missouri workers to have a say in the anti-union, anti-worker law by placing the measure on the 2018 ballot for voters to decide.
The resolutions, which are virtually identical, have no legal bearing but simply state the cities’ position on the issue, expressing the strong support of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen and the Kansas City Council for all workers to collectively bargain for their wages, benefits and working conditions and for the repeal of “right-to-work.”
In Missouri, and across the country, workers face a barrage of legislative attacks at the local, state and federal level to restrict their rights to form unions and bargain collectively, including so-called “right-to-work” legislation.
The St. Louis resolution was sponsored and introduced by 11th Ward Alderwoman Sara Martin.
“Right now, the legislature is attacking our urban cores,” Martin said. “St. Louis overwhelming supports the rights of workers and their right to organize and bargain collectively. I thought it was important for St. Louis to get on the record for supporting workers.”
The resolution reads in part:
“The Board of Aldermen of the City of St. Louis has a long and rich history of working with labor unions to advocate for fair wages, good benefits, workplace protections and equal opportunities; additionally, the Board of Aldermen has passed numerous resolutions in support of the right and freedom to unions and collectively bargain for all St. Louis workers….
“So-called ‘right-to-work’ laws make it more difficult for workers to organize and enter into a union contract to help pay for the expenses that the union incurs while protecting the rights of all employees….
“Studies reveal that deceptively titled ‘right-to-work’ laws drive down wages for all workers, including non-union members, women and people of color. Workers living in so-called ‘right-to-work’ states earn approximately $1,500 less per year and sustain higher injury rates than workers in states without these laws. The wage disparity is even worse for women and people of color….
“Now therefore be it resolved that the Board of Alderman of the City of St. Louis:
- Reiterates its strong support for all workers to collectively bargain for their wages, benefits, working conditions and other rights.
- Recognizes that workers’ rights are civil rights, and is committed to work in coordination with other like-minded individuals, organizations and groups which may be opposed to so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws either through political, legal or other advocacy means.
- Advocates for the repeal of Missouri’s so-called ‘right-to-work’ law and opposes all such laws that are being considered by a local, state or federal legislatures.
- Fully supports the efforts to repeal Missouri’s so-called ‘right-to-work’ law through a statewide referendum or any other lawful means.”
‘RTW AFFECTS ALL OF US’
We Are MO, the campaign to repeal the so-called “right-to-work,” applauded the St. Louis and Kansas City resolutions, both of which were passed unanimously.
“Today, the St. Louis City Board ofAldermen stood up for their constituentswith a unanimous vote to supportrepeal of the so-called ‘right-to-work’bill,” said Pat White, president ofthe Greater St. Louis Labor Council.“Unlike politicians in Jefferson City,the board clearly understands thatso-called ‘right-to-work’ affects all ofus, lowering our wages and weakening protections for workers.”
Pat Dujakovich, president of the Greater Kansas City Labor Council, praised the Kansas City Council’s recent resolution: “We thank the city council for standing up to protect the welfare of their constituents over the interests of out-of-state CEOs and billionaire campaign donors who would like nothing more than to pay their workers less and provide as little in benefits as possible.”