JEFFERSON CITY — An effort to bar public employee unions from automatically deducting dues from members’ paychecks has been gaining momentum across the country, but Missouri Democrats were able to stall it, at least for now.
By JORDAN SHAPIRO
The Associated Press
Missouri is one of several states to consider what supporters call “paycheck protection” but what opponents say is an attack on the power of collective bargaining.
Currently, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Ohio, Michigan and Washington state have enacted similar paycheck laws, with others — including Kansas — looking into it.
Missouri’s measure, sponsored by Sen. Dan Brown, a Rolla Republican, would apply to public employee unions. Organizations representing teachers, state employees, and city and county workers would not be able to collect dues directly from members’ paychecks. Public employees who are considered “first responders,” such as police officers and firefighters, would be exempt from the bill and could still have their dues automatically deducted.
Democrats spent last week blocking the measure on the Senate floor. They accuse Republicans of trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist while pushing a hidden agenda.
Historically, labor unions contribute heavily to Democrats.
Brown’s proposal also would require union leaders to receive annual consent from individual members to spend their dues for political purposes. Missouri’s Senate passed a similar bill in 2011, but it died in the House. That legislation would have required the state’s voters to sign off on the paycheck plan.
The current bill is one of a series of measures opposed by labor unions likely to get consideration in Missouri’s legislature this year.
House and Senate committees have already conducted hearings on legislation that would eliminate union membership as a condition of employment for certain jobs, known as “right to work.”