Missouri AFL-CIO Legislative Report
Spring Break March 20, 2015
Just prior to the beginning of the 2015 legislative session I sent all of you an update of bills that had been filed along with an outlook report. In the update there were 7 right to work for less bills, 4 paycheck deception bills, 2 bills that required recertification for public employee representation by unions and 5 harmful prevailing wage bills. Those numbers have since increased to a total of 26 bills in all of the listed categories.
I reported to all of you in the outlook report that we would need major participation from all unions to fight off these attacks. Participation would include phone calls from our members to Representatives and Senators, letters and post cards to Representatives and Senators and for all of you to come to Jefferson City and bring members with you who would be willing to testify against these attacks and tell real life stories of good things that happen when you are represented by organized labor.
I also asked for you to bring employers and contractors to Jefferson City to explain to the Representatives and Senators both in their committee hearings and in one on one meetings why right to work, paycheck deception or gutting prevailing wage laws is not what Missouri needs to create more jobs and grow our economy.
Now, as spring break for the 2015 legislative session begins and we head into the last seven weeks of the attacks, this is where we are.
Your response to help has been great. We have either patched through or had direct dials on over 1,300 calls. There have been over 600 postcards and over 1,130 hand written letters either delivered by mail of hand delivered by our lobby team to Representatives and Senators.
We have had over 35 rank and file union members testify in committee hearings and have had hundreds walking the halls and having one on one visits with Legislators to insure that our friends on both sides of the aisle stay with us on our issues. A high light of these were two members of UFCW 655 who gave a riveting testimony of what their union means to them and how dangerous RTW would be. I would urge you to take a moment and view the video of their testimony here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzATureRdH0.
There have also been votes on our issues. I am sure that everyone is aware right to work has moved further than ever in the history of Missouri. In late February HB116 sponsored by Rep Eric Burlison was third read and passed out of the House with 92 votes. The bill was automatically moved to the Senate where it has been assigned to a committee but has had no other movement.
The Senate Small Business committee has heard their own versions of right to work and paycheck deception. I am very pleased to report that paycheck deception was not able to pass out of committee. While we anxiously await one more legislative day for it to become official, paycheck could be dead. We were not so lucky with the Senate version of right to work. The bill passed out of committee on a 5-3 vote. Democratic Senators, Gina Walsh and Shalonn “Kiki” Curls were with us on both votes and it is with pleasure that I let all of you know that Senator Paul Wieland (R), Jefferson County, stood with Labor on both of the issues. Senator Wayne Wallingford (R), Cape Girardeau, stood with us on paycheck but not on right to work. We hope that with more lobby work and with more phone calls and letters that Wallingford will stay with us if and when the bill moves to the Senate Floor for debate.
There are also several bills that could become attacks on our public school students and teachers. We are keeping a very close eye on all of those bills. Our work continues daily in supporting the needs of the AFT and the MNEA in helping to defeat the harmful bills.
All of that being said, we have accomplished a lot by working together over the last 12 weeks. We need to continue our vigilant efforts in every category. We need letters, we need phone bank volunteers and we need our members to pack the house when there is an Urgent Member Meeting in their area.
I look forward to our challenges and I know that when Missouri Labor sticks together we can survive.
President, Missouri AFL-CIO