A two-person crew bill has been introduced in the Missouri Legislature, and we’ll need the support of SMART members in the region to help get the legislation passed.
H.B. 2229 was introduced January 16 by state Rep. Jim Neely (District 8), a Republican who is also a medical doctor. The bill, a joint effort of SMART-TD and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, has had two readings by members of the House and now sits on the desk of Speaker Elijah Haahr awaiting a committee assignment so a hearing can take place.
“We need your help to pressure Speaker Haahr to assign H.B. 2229 to a committee and move it forward,” SMART-TD Missouri State Legislative Director Jason Hayden said. “Phone calls and emails into his office asking him to move this bill are what we need. Calls and emails to your representative to explain the two-person crew issue are also very important.”
Hayden wanted to give special credit to Stacey Garton, the wife of BNSF conductor Glen Garton of TD Local 259 in St. Joseph, Mo. Her efforts and the grassroots support given by fellow members of the Facebook page Fight for Two Person Crews helped her to approach Neely. She then connected Hayden and BLET State Legislative Chairman Calvin Groose with Neely so that the bill could be finalized before introduction.
“It was not hard for Rep. Neely to understand the grave situation it not only puts the single employee in but also the general public,” Hayden said about the dangers of one-person freight operations. “He was actually not on my radar as someone to approach about carrying the bill for us. But this situation goes to show allies can come from the most unexpected places. It really is all about how an issue touches someone.”
A great show of support from union members and their family and friends in Missouri in contacting their state legislators will help to show the Show Me State that H.B. 2229 matters for the continued safety of both rail workers and for the public.
Members wanting to assist in the effort to get the word out about this important legislation and to have their voices heard can contact Hayden at email@example.com.
“We have the numbers to make this happen, we just need your help to accomplish it,” he said.
With the partial federal government shutdown in its 35th day on Jan. 25, many small- to mid-sized transit agencies are reporting a financial pinch, Politico.com reports.
Agencies in North Carolina, Missouri, Arizona and California all say that cuts in service are on the table if the shutdown persists.
And at least one transit provider, Cape Fear Public Transportation Agency in Wilmington, N.C., is considering a plan to not operate in February because of a lack of funds. Its executive director reports that Federal Transit Administration (FTA) reimbursements for the first four months of the fiscal year have not been processed with each reimbursement representing a quarter of its monthly operating budget.
But even if the shutdown ended soon, it would not guarantee that the payments would arrive to fund operations, executive director Albert Eby told Politico.com.
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — The results of Tuesday’s elections, while not the absolute best-case scenario for labor, indicated that voters might be ready to end the one-party majority in the federal government in three months’ time, said SMART Transportation Division National Legislative Director John Risch at the opening session of the last day of the 2018 Regional Meeting at the Hilton Diplomat Resort.
A special election campaign in Ohio saw both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence appear in support of Troy Balderson, who was running to finish out the remaining months of a term in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District. The seat was left vacated by fellow-Republican Pat Tiberia.
Yet even with the top two Republicans in the nation trying to give Balderson some momentum, he defeated Danny O’Connor, a relatively unknown Democrat, by 1 percent, according to unofficial results Tuesday. The 12th District, which includes Ohio’s capital Columbus, was carried by Trump by more than 11 points in the 2016 presidential election, according to The Associated Press.
Balderson and O’Connor will square off again in November for a full term to represent the district in Congress, and the result could be different with such a narrow margin.
Missouri’s special election Tuesday brought better news for labor, in what has been “a solidly red” state, Risch said.
Proposition A, a labor-led referral effort to repeal right-to-work legislation, was successful with 67 percent of voters voting to repeal a right-to-work law in place. Thirty-three percent of voters voted to keep the law, according to unofficial results. Labor faced much opposition with the Koch brothers leading an underground deceptive ‘yes vote’ effort that would have kept the right-to-work law in place. Missouri would’ve been the 28th state with such legislation in place had the referral not been successful.
“Even with all the deceptiveness, even with all the ways in which they tried to tilt the playing field in their favor – all of that, we won in Missouri,” Risch said.
He said a majority of voters in Missouri understood and recognized that Proposition A’s backers were trying to undermine the ability of unions to get better wages, fringe benefits and improve safety through deceptive direct mailings and other tactics.
“When they understand this, they vote the right way,” Risch said. “They vote for themselves, they vote for their unions, they vote for the ability to do something in the workplace.”
Risch feels that this victory, as well as victories by teachers in West Virginia, Arizona and Colorado this year, could signal a turning point for workers in the fight against income inequality.
“I see a trend, I see a movement across this country,” he said. “I think the tide is turning. I hope the tide is turning because we can’t go the other direction much longer.”
SMART Transportation Division National Legislative Director John Risch addresses attendees Wednesday, Aug. 8 at the opening session of the final day of the Hollywood, Fla., Regional Meeting.
Members in Missouri & New Hampshire: Call your State House Representatives!
The state of Missouri recently passed a right-to-work (for less) bill in the State Senate, 21-12. A similar bill is expected to pass in the state’s House as well. If the bill passes in the State House, Mo. Governor Eric Greitens (R) has pledged to sign the bill into law.
If you live in Missouri, now is the time to contact your legislators and tell them that you don’t want Missouri to become a right-to-work (for less) state. Click here to find your Representative and their contact information.
In a much closer vote, the New Hampshire State Senate voted 12-11 to pass right-to-work (for less). The bill now heads to the Republican-controlled House for a vote. N.H. Governor Chris Sununu (R) has indicated that he will sign the bill into law if it passes in the State House.
Members from New Hampshire: click here to find your Representatives and their contact information.
According to the AFL-CIO, states that have enacted these so-called right-to-work laws have lower wages and incomes (about $6,000 less per year); little or no health insurance coverage and pay higher premiums; higher poverty rates; higher workplace fatality rates by 49 percent; and lower investments in education. These laws not only hurt unions, but the members who depend on the union as well.
Call your legislators today and tell them that you don’t want right-to-work (for less) in your state!
Missouri State Legislative Director Ken Menges asks Missouri SMART members to join in the fight against right-to-work. Although Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the right-to-work legislation June 4 at the SMART Sheet Metal Local 36 facility, a battle has been raging in the state to get that veto overturned.
A veto session is scheduled for Wednesday, September 16, 2015 to revisit the right-to-work legislation and to overturn the veto.
“We have worked hard since the legislative session ended in May to visit and show support for both our Democrat and Republican friends,” Menges said. “I would like to extend a special thanks to Assistant State Director Jason Hayden (Local 1405 – St. Louis), Local Legislative Representatives Thad Krawczyk (Local 933 – Jefferson City, Mo.), Josh Stallings (Local 1823 – St. Louis), Gerald Wohlgemuth (Local 226 – Moberly, Mo.) and Dan Coleman (Local 1780 – Kansas City, Mo.) for spending several days canvassing door-to-door, working to get letters from union members to their legislators and thanking them for their support.
“According to the Missouri AFL-CIO we have had nearly 20,000 letters and calls go out to legislators, which is phenomenal.”
A rally was held September 12 in preparation for the fight against Governor Nixon’s veto being overturned. The rally was attended by hundreds of union members across the state, including SMART membership. Governor Jay Nixon was a keynote speaker at the event.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon addresses attendees at an anti-right-to-work rally
Sept. 12 rally against overturning right-to-work veto is attended by hundreds of union members.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A major Republican donor, David Humphreys, who had been relatively quiet donated half a million dollars to a new committee Sept. 15 that is rumored to be targeting Republicans that support Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of Right-to-Work legislation.
Days ago, the “Committee for Accountable Government in Missouri” filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission and Humphreys, President and CEO of Joplin-based Tamko Building Products and a longtime generous Republican donor, dropped $500K into the committee.
Union members are making sure Missouri Republican lawmakers who voted against ‘right-to-work’ earlier this year know that they will have union support during the next election.
Missouri’s chapter of the AFL-CIO held a rally and knocked on doors Saturday in Jefferson County ahead of the General Assembly’s veto session next Wednesday. That’s when a vote to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a “right-to-work” bill could be brought to the floor. The measure would bar making union dues a condition of employment. Currently a business or union can require dues when a majority of workers have voted to organize.
Jefferson City, Mo. — Not enough Missouri lawmakers appear to support a contentious right-to-work measure to overturn Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill, an Associated Press analysis shows.
Interviews with lawmakers indicate House Republicans in favor of right to work are short of the needed two-thirds majority required to overturn Nixon’s veto heading into Wednesday’s legislative session.
At least nine of the 23 Republican House members who voted against the legislation in May told AP they plan to support Nixon’s veto if the proposal is brought up for an override vote, and another has publicly said she still opposes right to work. The bill would prohibit workplace contracts that require union fees to be collected from nonmembers.
On Thursday, June 4, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon traveled to SMART SMD Local 36 in St. Louis to veto a toxic right-to-work for less bill passed by that state’s legislature. With a fired up crowd of hundreds of onlookers, he noted that “For generations, the ability of workers to join together and bargain collectively for fair wages and benefits has formed the foundation of the American middle-class. This extreme measure would take our state backward.”
Due to the Republican Party’s lock on midterm elections, this year marks the first time that anti-worker groups were able to foster enough support in the state Legislature to send a bill to the Governor. The Legislature effectively shut down the last week of it’s session after some GOP senators forced a vote on the measure.
Even with an overwhelming and record number of Republicans in the Missouri House and Senate, the bill’s original passage still fell short of the two-thirds majority vote needed in both chambers to overturn Governor Nixon’s veto. The Republican Party was split, with many members joining Democrats in opposition to the extreme legislation.
To override the veto, the Republican-controlled Legislature would need 23 votes in the Senate and 109 in the House. The Senate passed the measure 21-13 earlier this year while the House passed it 92-66.
Transportation Division Missouri State Legislative Director Ken Menges asks members for their support. Next week is the final week of the 2015 legislative session and the senate is planning to debate the state’s “right to work” anti-labor bill.
“We are being asked by the Mo. AFL-CIO to ‘pack’ the gallery of the senate next week. If any SMART member could spend a few hours in Jefferson City next week at the Capitol it would be greatly appreciated,” Menges said. “I know that our schedules are hectic, but a few hours any day would be a great help.”
Mo. AFL-CIO President Michael Louis said, “We are faced with the worst attack on labor and working families ever. Right to work has passed the house and now awaits floor debate to pass the senate. We must all unite to stop this unfair and unnecessary attack.
“Everyday next week, Monday through Friday, there is a very good chance that right to work will be on the senate floor. With one stroke of the pen all of the working conditions, wages and fringe benefits that have been fought for decades can be taken away from Missouri workers.”
Members planning to fill the senate gallery should call the Mo. AFL-CIO at (573) 634-2115 so that they can create a schedule to spread out the crowds over the course of the week. Monday’s session begins at 11 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. the rest of the week. Members can also call the Mo. state legislative board at (573) 634-3303 for further assistance.
Right to work legislation will be taken up Wednesday, Feb. 11, in the Missouri House of Representatives, Transportation Division State Legislative Director Ken Menges reports.
Menges is asking SMART members in the state to contact their state representatives and ask them to vote against the legislation.
“These so called ‘right to work’ or ‘workplace freedom’ bills aren’t what they seem,” Menges said. “This type of legislation and other divisive laws will financially harm working class Missourians and make our workplaces less safe.”
After entering their ZIP code, citizens can find the state representative. Click on the legislator’s name to reach his or her contact page containing the legislator’s office telephone number and Email address.
Let you representative or his or her staff know that you are “strongly opposed” to House Bill 582 and HCS House Bill 116.