Missouri Governor Vetoes Union-Busting Bill

Missouri Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have forced public unions to seek annual written permission before collecting dues from employees. Missouri’s GOP-led legislature passed the bill in an effort to restrict the collective bargaining rights of state workers.

The law, which Republicans in the state called “paycheck protection,” would have also required public employees to sign off on the use of dues toward political activities.

“Singling out union dues for these extra processes serves no beneficial purpose,” said Nixon, pointing out that state employees already have voluntary withholdings such as 401(k) and college savings plans, and can opt out of the union dues withholding if they choose. “Rather, the bill places unnecessary burdens on public employees for the purpose of weakening labor organizations.”

In May, Nixon vetoed a Republican-backed bill that would have repealed the state’s prevailing wage law, which establishes a minimum wage for workers on public projects. A bill that would have made Missouri a “right-to-work” state never came to a vote, but the Republican state representative who proposed it said he plans on pushing the legislation again next year.

Republican legislators in Michigan and Indiana recently passed “right-to-work” laws under the guise of greater employee freedom and becoming more business-friendly – even though the laws have been proven to cause lower wages and higher poverty. In 2011, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker sparked massive protests and a recall election when he stripped public employees of almost all their collective bargaining rights.

Missouri AFL-CIO President Hugh McVey praised Nixon’s courage in fighting against deceptive anti-worker legislation.

“With today’s veto, Gov. Nixon stood up for the basic rights of Missouri’s everyday heroes—the people who work every day to keep our state working,” said McVey. “Nurses, teachers, police officers and countless other middle-class Missourians would have lost their voice on the job if this unfair and dangerous paycheck deception bill were to become law. We are grateful that Gov. Nixon stands as a firewall against the extremist agenda that would unfairly take rights away from workers and seeks to lower wages in our state. He joins the courageous legislators in both parties who sided with working people despite pressure from out-of-state special interest groups.”