Two of the most politically active local unions in Missouri, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 655 and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1, have formed a joint effort to oppose a bill that lowers wages for thousands of working families, greatly expands the role of government and prevents cities from addressing the needs of their residents.
HB 1193, sponsored by Rep. Dan Shaul, and HB 1194, sponsored by Rep. Jason Chipman, would prohibit any city in Missouri from raising their minimum wage beyond state levels. The legislation is a gross expansion of government and an attack on hardworking Missourians across the state.
“St. Louis is our city,” said Dennis Shaw, UFCW Local 655 member. “This is where we live, work, and raise our families. Politicians who aren’t even from here shouldn’t be telling us what to decide.”
SEIU Local 1 and UFCW Local 655 have been engaged in the fight to raise the minmum wage in St. Louis since the beginning, and both organizations proudly supported the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision last week to uphold an increase.
“Working families know wages are too low, and we’re trying to raise them to help everyone in this state make ends meet,” said SEIU Local 1 janitor Eugene Hubbard. “Why are some Jefferson City politicians trying to stop our communities from making decisions for ourselves? It’s not right.”
Both local unions are committed to fighting HB 1193 and HB 1194 and will pressure politicians in Jefferson City in the coming days and weeks to reject a bill that interferes with local control, expands government, and keeps wages for thousands of Missourians low.
“Missourians went to the polls in November and elected a lot of Republicans who ran on platforms of small government and more local control,” said UFCW Local 655 President David Cook. “Now those same Republicans want to tell each and every city in Missouri what they can and cannot discuss and debate? That’s not small government. That’s not local control. That’s big government taking a decision away from the people.”
Local 655 is the largest union in the State of Missouri. It represents over 10,000 members working in the 46 counties throughout the eastern half of the state. Local 655’s members are employed in food stores (its largest single division), health care, barbers, retail stores, shoe manufacturing plants, packinghouses, and a number of miscellaneous plants. The union negotiates almost 100 different contracts.
SEIU Local 1 represents nearly 6,000 janitors, adjunct faculty, and public-sector workers in St. Louis. The two organizations are coming together to prevent politicians from lowering the wages of thousands of working people already struggling to make ends meet.