Labor News From Our Region
Trailblazer Patrice Billings challenges RTW architect Bob Onder for Missouri Senate’s 2nd District
By MARY ANN HOLLY
St. Charles, MO – When Patrice Billings, a candidate for Missouri Senate District 2, started to speak at the Oct. 22 Tri-County Labor Club meeting, the entire room of union men and women gave her a standing ovation.
Billings is challenging State Senator Bob Onder (R-St. Charles), the architect of Missouri’s recently defeated “right-to-work” (RTW) law. Onder has promised to sponsor a new RTW bill next year.
Endorsed by the Missouri AFL-CIO and the Greater St. Louis Labor Council, Billings is a vehement opponent of phony “right-to-work” and believes efforts to abolish Missouri’s Prevailing Wage law are misguided, immoral and will lead to untrained, unqualified workers and subpar contractors being awarded contracts on taxpayer funded construction of government buildings, schools, roads and bridges.
“You worked and walked and ought hard to defeat ‘right-to-work’ in Missouri, but if you don’t vote to put worker-friendly candidates in office, all of your work will have been in vain,” Billings said. “I can guarantee you ‘right-to-work’ will be back. These people are serious about doing harm to working people.”
A formidable candidate, Billings retired in 2009 as chief pilot and certified flight instructor with the St. Louis County Police Department’s Metro Air Support Unit. The first female police officer in the country to become a helicopter pilot, Billings earned a Purple Heart for her heroic achievements and also served as a sniper and precision marksman with the department’s SWAT team.
While in college, Billings worked summers as a Steelworker, manufacturing Budweiser and Busch beer cans.
Billings is also an advocate for LBGTQ rights and says she will work to overturn Missouri’s Senate Bill 43 (passed in 2017), which makes it easier to discriminate in employment and housing.
‘VOTE THEM OUT’ ON NOV. 6
State Senate District 2 and all of St. Charles County could be ripe for worker-friendly candidates, if everyone who voted against Prop A (RTW) also votes on Nov. 6.
Prop A was defeated by a more than two-to-one margin, with union and non-union workers voting against the attack on workers’ wages and collective bargaining rights.
Finishing the job on Nov. 6 will require the same level of energy and commitment.
“We can’t outspend them, but we can out-walk them,” said Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO. “We beat RTW, but it will mean nothing — nothing — unless we vote them out.”
Billings spoke recently with members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1 and received their wholehearted support.
Tri-County Labor Club President Steve Bailey (Bricklayers Local 1) said volunteers are working at the hall every day until the Nov. 6 election, and canvassing walks for Billings are taking place every Saturday.
“We need door knockers, phone callers, poll workers and lots of volunteers,” Bailey said. “There is plenty to do. Anyone with spare time can drop in anytime between now and Election Day.”
For more information on Billings, or to get involved or make a donation to the campaign, visit BillingsforSenate.com.