Teamsters Battling Right to Work
For the 30th consecutive year, a right-to-work proposal has gone down in defeat in Colorado. Steve Vairma, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 455, said Teamsters had a big hand in helping to defeat the issue this year on a 5-3 party-line vote in the House State Affairs Committee recently at the Capitol in Denver.
“Our people know the union busters will introduce this bill every year, and we are always ready for them,” Vairma said.
Three of five people who testified against the bill were rank-and-file members of Local 455—Louis Washington, Mile Meese and Zurelle Rainey, all of whom received well-deserved plaudits from more than 200 union members who attended the meeting. The legislation was defeated by one vote.
“They were really quite effective,” said Cindy Gallegos, Local 455’s political director. “Their messages were varied and very compelling.”
Also in March, state judges in Missouri gave workers there two more wins against anti-union schemes. One judge stopped “paycheck deception” legislation from going into effect and another stopped a state law making every state and local worker an “at will” employee, whether they have a union contract or not. 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. Both halts are temporary, pending full judicial hearings on both laws.
The GOP-dominated and heavily gerrymandered state legislature passed both measures almost precisely three years before the two judges halted them in early March 2019.
The two laws were scheduled to take effect last August, but Teamsters and other unions’ suits stopped them, just as union-led petitions stopped Missouri’s right-to-work law, until voters killed it that same month by a 2-to-1 ratio.
Both laws, plus right to work, are part of a nationwide package of union-busting measures designed to strip workers of all rights. Not coincidentally, they’re all pushed in GOP-run states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a secretive corporate-funded cabal.
Local 492 played a major role at the state Capitol in Santa Fe in the recent passage of a law that thwarted a scheme to destroy organized labor in New Mexico.
The law, signed recently by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, prohibits counties and villages in New Mexico from enacting right-to-work laws.
“It was a great victory for the union movement in our state,” said Walter Maestas, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 492. “It was vital that this plan be stopped in its tracks.”
West Virginia workers also got some good news recently when a Circuit Court Judge tossed out much of the state’s right-to-work law again.
“We applaud Judge Bailey’s ruling. The language of the bill—as it was written, amended and enacted into law—has significant issues that are in violation of the West Virginia Constitution,” said Ken Hall, Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer and President of Local 175 in Charleston, W.Va.
The judge’s decision said the law would let workers “take unions’ property without compensation.”
Anti-union groups are challenging the latest ruling.