Posted on March 9, 2015 - 11:56am
For the past several years, some members of our state legislature have been trying to make Missouri a “Right to Work” state. This year is no different: 17 Right to Work bills have been filed this session. Last month, HB 116 was voted out of the House, and tomorrow, the Senate Committee Small Business, Industry, and Insurance will hear SB 127.While it is unlikely that these bills will become a law this legislative session, it important for all Catholics to understand how Right to Work laws hurt workers and families and contradicts our Church’s social teachings on the Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers.
At a first glance, Right to Work sounds like a law that protects workers’ rights: “Why shouldn’t I be able to work without an obligation to my job sector’s union? It’s my right not to pay unions to negotiate the contract—I don’t belong to the union and it’s my money!” Sadly, this attitude reflects our increasingly individualistic society where one privileges his rights above the common good. Not only does Right to Work fracture the sense of solidarity among workers that unions help foster, but it also can put employees’ basic rights and protections into peril.
There is a good reason why Pope Leo XIII declared over 120 years ago that, “the most important of all [workplace associations and organizations] are workingmen’s unions” (On the Condition of Labor, no. 49). In Right to Work states, the unions’ inability to collect dues from all workers to cover the costs of a of a contract negotiation ends up impacting workers and their families across all employment sectors, both public and private, union and non-union. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013 the average worker in Right to Work states made nearly $6,000 less annually than workers in free-bargaining states. Additionally, they are less likely to have job-based health insurance, and, if they do have employer-sponsored insurance, they pay a larger share of health insurance premiums than workers in free-bargaining states. One of the most sobering statistics is on the disparity of safety standards: in 2014 the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the rate of workplace deaths is 36% higher in Right to Work states than in free-bargaining states.
It is fair to believe that our legislators want the best for the people of Missouri, including just wages and benefits, decent working conditions, and the ability to provide for the needs of their families. However, there are national organizations that value profits over the dignity of the human person and do not respect the rights of workers, and they are trying to influence law-makers across the country. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI observed in Caritas in Veritate, unions are experiencing “great difficulty in carrying out their task of representing the interests of workers, partly because governments often limit the freedom or negotiating capacity of labor unions.” He also declared that, “the repeated calls issued within the Church’s social doctrine for the promotion of workers’ associations that can defend workers’ rights must be honored today even more than in the past” (no. 25). As Catholics, it is our duty to go forth and proclaim our Church's teachings to all. Let us also pray that the people of Missouri—especially our lawmakers—continue to honor workers and support unions’ efforts to protect them and their families.
- This year the process for a bill to become law in Missouri has changed. The process now is that a bill can originate in either the House or Senate. Once a bill is filed it will be first and second read, which are formalities, and is them referred to the appropriate Standing Committee in the Chamber it originated in. If the bill passes out of the Standing Committee, it is then referred to a Select Committee. If the bill is voted out of committee, it then goes to a vote of the entire chamber the bill originated in. If the bill passes that chamber, it then goes to the other chamber and goes through the exact same process. If the bill also passes the other chamber it then goes to the Governor. He can either sign the bill to make it law, veto the bill, or he can simply do nothing. If the Governor does nothing the bill automatically becomes law after 15 days.
- Right-to-Work is set for a hearing tomorrow at 1pm in the Senate Standing Committee on Small Business, Insurance and Industry. It has already completely passed out of the House. If the bill passes out of the Senate Committee it will go before a Senate Select Committee before being voted on by the entire Senate.
- Paycheck Deception has passed the out both the Standing and Select Committees in the House and may be brought to the entire House floor at any time. If it passes the House it will then go to the Senate.
- Three different versions of bills aiming to limit or modify Prevailing Wage have been heard in the House Standing Committee on Workforce Development and Standards committee. None of those bills have been voted out of that committee yet, but are expected to be soon.
- The House has fully passed a bill that would change unemployment benefits in Missouri. This bill attempts to tie unemployment benefits to the unemployment rate in Missouri. Our current unemployment rate in Missouri is 5.6%. Under this bill, any time the unemployment rate is below 6% beneficiaries would only be eligible for a maximum of 13 weeks of unemployment benefits. That is down 7 weeks, yes, almost two months, from our current 20 weeks of available benefits. That makes our line of work even more difficult. A hearing on this bill has not yet been scheduled in the Senate but could at any time.
- Three separate bills to fund transportation and infrastructure in Missouri have been filed. One has been filed in the Senate – SB 540 – and two have been filed in the House – HB 995 and HB 738. None of these bills have any hearings scheduled so far in either the House or Senate. For more information on these bills see posting from 3/9/2015 here on the webstite.
One possible – and partial – solution has been offered by Senator Doug Libla who last week filed Senate Bill 540 that would raise the tax on fuel by two cents each of the next three years, thereby increasing the tax on fuel from 17 cents to 23 cents per gallon.
Each one-cent increase in gas tax yields approximately $39 million per year. Of that amount 15 percent goes to cities and 15 percent goes to counties. MoDOT receives 70 percent, or approximately $27 million. That means it will take a six-cent increase to close the $160 million gap. If passed by the General Assembly this session, the first two-cent increase would become effectiveJanuary 1, 2016 and the gas tax would increase from 17 to 19 cents – still lower than all but one of our eight neighboring states. MoDOT would begin receiving the new revenue by the end of March 2016. By 2018, the increase would fully phase in bringing the total to 23 cents. Ironically, if the legislation in 1992 had indexed the fuel tax to keep pace with the Consumer Price Index, the fuel tax today would be more than 23 cents – and our problem today would not be as grave. SB 540 would avoid a similar result by indexing the fuel tax in the fourth year.
At the current time there are two transportation funding bills filed in the House. Rep. Keith English has filed HB 995 which would provide a one-year, two-cent increase and Rep. Dave Hinson has filed HB 738 which would convert the fuel tax from cents/gallon to a percentage. More on these later.
The 2-2-2 plan proposed by SB 540 and the two house bills, have a long way to go. The filing of legislation is only the first step. The vast majority of bills filed never even make it to a final vote – much less enactment. But the filing at least allows for conversation and public debate. Let the debate begin!
Free volunteer tax preparation is available at locations throughout the St. Louis area for families making $53,000 or less. You may also choose to prepare your federal and state taxes online for free at www.GatewayEITC.org if your family income is less than $60,000.
Call United Way’s 211 helpline at 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626 for information on site locations, hours and the list of documents to bring. There are additional locations that are not listed in the attached document.
Electronic filing and direct deposit are available for fast refunds.
March 4, 2015 - Today the Missouri Senate Small Business Committee heard a Paycheck Deception bill today that, if passed out of the Senate and House, would by-pass the governor and go to a vote of the people. Unlike previous years, it does not carve out exceptions for Police and Firefighters. We are all in this together. Solidarity is not just a word, it's a means of survival.
Get the contact information for your Senator here: http://www.senate.mo.gov/LegisLookup/default.aspx
Free Health Screenings at 6701 Delmar Blvd. in beautiful University City thanks to Health Protection & Education Services! Registration is from 9am-10:30am. See the flier for more details and additional dates.
Bill limiting unemployment benefits passes first vote in the Missouri House of Representatives.
Call or email your Representative and tell them to leave unemployment alone. 13 weeks is not enough!
Look up your Representative here: house.mo.gov/legislatorlookup.aspx
Full story here: themissouritimes.com/16329/house-approves-changes-unemployment-benefits
Many of you already shop at Schnucks, so lets take advantage of an offer they have extended to help out of work union members during difficult financial times. It won't cost you a thing, but a portion of each purchase will be donated to the $5 for the Fight Fund. Sign-up at the following link and they will send you a key fob for your key chain. Have the cashier scan it before your pay for your groceries and a portion of the money spent will help union members. It could be any of us needing help one day, so let's take advantage of Schnuck's generosity. Make sure you sign up for the $5 for the Fight Fund!
Strong demand for aluminum Budweiser and Bud Light bottles is prompting Anheuser-Busch to double its aluminum bottle capacity in the U.S. with a $150 million facility expansion in Arnold.
Metal Container Corp., a subsidiary of A-B, broke ground Thursday on a new 110,000-square-foot aluminum bottle production facility 17 miles south of A-B’s St. Louis brewery. A-B is the U.S. unit of A-B InBev
Please read the following article by Jan Slaugher, The Public Eye:
Those who want to privatize public services and destroy unions have made some successful incursions into the once union-friendly state. Whether Michiganders can mount an effective resistance remains to be seen.
When Michigan Republicans decided to push through a so-called right-to-work bill in December 2012, schools in three districts were forced to close for a day because so many teachers went to the Capitol to protest. Several dozen protesters demonstrated in the Capitol Rotunda; nine were arrested.
In an effort to press Congress to pass a jobs-creating, long-term Highway Bill, LIUNA has launched a major media campaign including radio ads, billboards, online materials and actions and the “Getting Schooled in Infrastructure” school bus, which began touring the U.S. on June 16. The bus has been crushed and carries a large piece of concrete from a falling bridge. It will be towed to news media briefings in more than 20 locations, starting with Delaware, Pennsylvania and Ohio and continuing to other cities during the summer. The campaign is linked to www.FixOurBridges.org and www.RepairOurRoads.org, where concerned Americans can send a message to Congress. The current Highway Bill authorization expires Oct. 1, meaning the Highway Trust Fund will no longer pass funds to states for road and bridge projects, unless Congress takes action. Even before the expiration, the fund is expected to run dry. Congress has viable options to save the trust fund. Hundreds of thousands of jobs – and the safety of motorists – are at stake. Watch video and see other coverage.
Learn more now at www.FixOurBridges.org and send your message to your member of Congress.
LINK TO VIDEO: http://wdel.com/story.php?id=60226
Local 110 is an affiliate of LIUNA—the Laborers’ International Union of North America—the most progressive, aggressive and fastest-growing union of construction workers, and one of the most diverse and effective unions representing public service employees.
Laborers' Local 110 is made up of 2822 members: 2146 of those being active members and 676 retirees.
Highway 270 blasting; Fred Weber
The Metro- politan Area is made up of 1000+ Union affiliated Contractors. Please check the list of union affiliated contracts with information including addresses and phone numbers.
The Laborers AGC Training Center offers over 60 separate courses of instruction from 3-5 days in length. Classes cover General Construction Skills, Advancement Skills, Specialty Skills, Environmental Skills, and Health & Safety Classes.
The Right to Work Education Committee meets the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 6:00 pm at the Union Hall. Before the Lu110 normal monthly meeting.
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