Missouri voters stood up for workers last year when they rejected a ballot measure that would have made so-called right to work law in the state. Late last week, two judges added that record in the Show Me State, handing down separate rulings that again protected the rights of unionized workers.
In the first ruling, a St. Louis County judge overturned a paycheck deception law that makes it harder for members to pay their union dues from going into effect until a final judgment is entered in a lawsuit filed last year by public sector workers.
Meanwhile, a Cole County judge froze a broad revamping of the state’s hiring and firing practices that will for the time-being stop the Missouri government from implementing a merit-based raise system.
For years, anti-union zealots in Missouri 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. They finally succeeded when now-disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens signed a bill into law just days before he left office last year.
Paycheck deception would require public employees in unions to opt in each year for dues to be taken out of their paychecks. It is meant as a means to reduce the size of unions and dilute their collective bargaining power.
Unions took similar issue with a law passed last year that stripped state workers of their civil service protections. Missouri’s government, in practice, took the law even further by refusing to honor collective bargaining agreements that covered thousands of state workers.
Luckily, the court found there is nothing about at-will employment that denies workers their right to collectively bargain under the state constitution. It said the state must be sincere in negotiating all terms and conditions of employment with their bargaining units.
Both decisions will almost certainly be appealed by anti-worker lawmakers in the Missouri Legislature. That said, it is encouraging to see judges put limits on policies that hamper the ability of union members to join together.
Taking away the rights of hardworking Americans to collectively bargain is not the answer. Working people want the freedom to join together and negotiate for a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.