For years, anti-union zealots in Missouri have attempted to strip unions of their power by trying to pass paycheck deception legislation that would require annual permission for union dues and fees to come out of public workers’ pay.
But everyday Missourians late last month made it clear again that they weren’t falling for their lies. Thousands of union members rallied at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City to oppose an override of Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of HB 1891. The measure was one of several GOP-backed measures that union member at the rally promised to combat.
The other measures, also Republican-sponsored, would make Missouri a so-called “right to work” state and would replace the prevailing wage on state-funded construction projects – such as highways and bridges – with the minimum wage.
All three measures are part of a nationwide push by anti-worker forces, their business allies and their political puppets to trash workers, emasculate and destroy unions, increase profits and cripple opposition to the corporate agenda, worker analysts and allies say.
In Missouri, paycheck deception would require public employees in unions to opt in each year for dues to be taken out of their paychecks. Nixon vetoed the measure before law-makers recessed for spring break, setting up an override attempt before the end of the session in May. The bill passed with 109 votes in the House and 23 in the Senate — the exact amount needed to override Nixon. Even one switched vote in either chamber would let his veto stand.
“This is just another attempt to erode the hard-fought rights that form the foundation of the American middle class,” Nixon said. This is the second time Nixon vetoed such a bill.
“This time they went even further by opening new avenues for lawsuits against employee associations, including those representing teachers and first responders,” Nixon said of this year’s bill. “So not only are they coming after unions, they’re giving my union, the lawyers, more business. I don’t think that’s really good for our state.”
Union members from across the state turned out for the rally, sponsored by the Missouri State Building Trades Council, and to lobby their legislators inside the Capitol. In his speech, and his prior veto message, Nixon called the paycheck bill an unnecessary burden on unions.
The fight in Missouri and elsewhere against these anti-worker measures isn’t going away. Workers must remain alert and strong against them.
Press Associates, Inc., contributed to this report.