'Every bit important as Prop A’
St. Louis Labor Council President Pat White recently thanked union delegates, their locals and members for the resounding defeat of Prop A (“right-to-work”) in Missouri but warned the Aug. 7 election victory is not the end of the battle against anti-worker forces in the Missouri Legislature.
“I appreciate everything everyone out there did personally and with your organizations to defeat Prop A,” White said. “We beat it in 99 of 114 counties and the City of St. Louis. If that doesn’t prove that this is a non-partisan issue and is bad for the state of Missouri, then somebody just isn’t paying attention. I’ve never seen so many folks at the polls.”
White cautioned, however, that defeating Prop A alone won’t be enough to keep so-called “right-to-work” (RTW) from coming up again in the next legislative session.
Doing that will require voting on Nov. 6 and unseating some of the anti-worker legislators who voted for RTW in the first place, he said.
And it will require changing the culture in the State Capitol in Jefferson City to reduce the influence of lobbyists and do away with the gerrymandering of districts that has resulted in the uneven Republican super majorities in the state House and Senate.
Toward that end, the Labor Council has endorsed the CLEAN Missouri amendment, which will appear on the November ballot as Amendment 1, as well as the Raise Up Missouri minimum wage initiative, which will appear on the ballot as Prop B.
He reiterated, “This is not the end of it.”
White said of legislative efforts to impose RTW on Missouri, “They’re going to keep coming at us.”
White said Republican Senator Bob Onder of St. Charles and Representative Rob Vescovo (R-Arnold), two virulent supporters of RTW, are already challenging Amendment 1, the CLEAN Missouri amendment, as an attack on Republicans because of what it would do to end gerrymandering.
AMENDMENT 1: CLEAN MISSOURI
If approved by voters, Amendment 1, the CLEAN Missouri constitutional amendment will:
• Lower campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates.
• Eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly.
• Require politicians to wait two years before becoming lobbyists.
• Require legislative records be open to the public.
• Ensure that neither political party is given an unfair advantage when new maps are drawn after the next census, by asking a nonpartisan expert to draw fair legislative district maps, which would then be reviewed by a citizen commission for fairness and competitiveness.
“The reason we’re where we’re at right now is because of how the districts are cut up,” White said. “They were able to cut up the districts to benefit them. Gerrymandering is killing us across the country.
“Amendment 1, the CLEAN Missouri initiative, is every bit as important to us as Prop A and raising the minimum wage.”
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For information on Amendment 1, the CLEAN Missouri initiative, visit cleanmissouri.org.
PROP B: RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE
Prop B, the Raise the Minimum Wage initiative would raise the current minimum wage from $7.85 to $8.60 in 2019 and then gradually increase it by 85 cents a year until it reaches $12 an hour in 2023.
For information on Prop B, visit raiseupmo.org.