Monday, February 16, 2015

St. Louis Democrat: Tampering with workers' rights is not a game

(From Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis)

Because of the statewide inclement weather forecast, the legislature will convene one day later this week - tomorrow Tuesday at 4pm (with some hearings meeting Tuesday afternoon). I'm glad the Speaker's office is mindful of those in different corners of the state who may have a 5 hour drive or more to get the Capitol on many types of roads.

Keep your boots on this President's Day.

Voter suppression in the form of Voter ID bills (HB30 & HJR1) are on the House calendar, primed and ready for expected floor debate this week. Similiar bills are ready to be heard in the Senate Elections committee (their Voter ID hearing cancelled today).

Seems like it was just last month the state observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the historical significance of the civil rights movement. How quickly the Speaker has forgotten.


If you haven't heard of ALEC - then listen up fast.

A national non-profit group, also known as the American Legislative Exchange Council consisting of global corporate interests, wines and dines state legislators at the best restaurants & hotels in return for sponsoring their bills in state houses throughout the country. The Center for Media and Democracy tracks their work via ALEC Exposed.

In Missouri, a large group of GOP legislators belong to this non-profit, including Speaker John Diehl.

The House approved so-called ‘right to work’ legislation, HB116, without a veto-proof margin by a vote of 92-66. No House Democrat voted yes which was also opposed by 23 Republicans.

Simply put, ALEC’s so-called ‘right to work’ laws would mean lower wages and a lower quality of life for the working people of Missouri -- unionized or not.

HB116 would legally prohibit companies from negotiating contracts with their labor unions that require employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

This is a classic example of government interference with how private businesses choose to operate – something Republicans claim to oppose. Right-to-work laws tend to suppress wages and diminish workplace safety. Average annual wages in right-to-work states are about $4,500 less than in other states. Right-to-work is nothing more than union busting.

HB116 now goes to the Senate.

Tampering with workers rights is not a game.

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