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.
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.
After serving two terms on the Sedalia, Mo., City Council, retired Union Pacific conductor Stephen J. Galliher was elected the city’s mayor in April.
Galliher, 65, a member of SMART Transportation Division Local 933 at Jefferson City, Mo., was sworn into office at a city council meeting April 21.
He received 68.45 percent of the vote in the town of about 22,000 residents.
“Back before I was on council, I had a couple of buddies that kept telling me, ‘you need to run, you need to run,’ so to get them off my back, I said OK,” Galliher said. “Once I got in (council), I really enjoyed it and I still enjoy it. That’s why I decided to run for mayor. It’s a part-time job, but it’s been full-time for me.”
Asked what has been the most rewarding aspect of his political career, Galliher directed the conversation to his constituents.
“More than any one thing, getting a phone call and being able to help one of your constituents, that gives me the most satisfaction. That’s the best thing about being on council and being mayor, being able to help folks when they need it.”
Galliher said he’s a Democrat, but his politics run mainly down the middle of the road. “We’re not too partisan here. You know, if our big government could work like some small cities, we could actually get something done. We have the best city employees and staff anywhere. They’re happy, and that’s why our city is growing.”
During his political tenure, the city has had a $30-million dollar sewer project, built a new fire station, purchased a new fire truck and repaired a library that was damaged by shifting due to drought conditions. Galliher said he’s proud of all of those things.
Married to his wife, Sherry, for 40 years, the couple has two children and four grandchildren. Asked what Sherry thought of his political involvement, Galliher said, “She told me, ‘you do what you want to do.’”
His daughter still lives in Sedalia and her sentiments are the same. “She doesn’t mind. She knows I like it, so she’s behind me, too. I have a good, supportive family.”
He also has the support of SMART Transportation Division Missouri State Legislative Director Ken Menges. “Steve has worked hard to see that all city employees are paid a fair wage and has worked to protect the rights of the employees who work for the city,” Menges said.
Galliher hired out with Missouri Pacific in 1971 and retired from UP Feb. 1, 2010.
He was happy to hear from the SMART Transportation Division News and looks forward to receiving a copy of the newspaper. “Once UTU, always UTU,” he said.
State Legislative Director Ken Menges of the Missouri Legislative Board reports that the 2014 Missouri legislative session has come to an end. The session saw several bills that had the potential to affect both SMART Transportation Division and Sheet Metal Division members in the state, one of which was House of Representatives’ Bill 1770, that would have introduced right-to-work legislation to the state.
H.B. 1770 passed in the state’s House, but failed to get the required constitutional majority needed to be sent to the Senate for passage. Click here to see how members of the House of Representatives voted on H.B. 1770. Similarly, House Bill 1617 – a bill introducing pay check deception – also passed in the House but met its demise when State Sens. Gina Walsh (D-Dist. 13) and Scott Sifton (D-Dist. 1) led a filibuster against the bill.
In expectation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations on coal-fired power plants, the legislative board supported H.B. 1631, a bill introducing legislation to develop emission standards in the state through a unit-by-unit analysis of each existing affected source of carbon dioxide by the Air Conservation Commission. Dave Zimmerman – third vice president of SMART SMD and president of Local 26 – is a member of the Air Conservation Commission.
“During the session, we were approached by Rep. Todd Richardson and former Senate Pro Tem Mike Gibbons (one of our avid Amtrak supporters when he was in the Senate and now a lobbyist for Peabody Coal) to testify in support of H.B. 1631,” Menges said. “With the help of Alternate National Legislative Director John Risch, the Missouri State Legislative Board testified at both the House and Senate hearings for this bill. The bill passed in the Senate with a 23-7 vote and in the House with a 129-14 vote.
“This bill is not high on Gov. Jay Nixon’s list, but with the great bipartisan support we were able to receive, the governor has told us he will take a good look at the bill.”
The board also supported H.B. 1707, which specifies that crew members operating a train, including operations at railroad crossings, are not required to present or display a driver’s license to any law enforcement officer in connection with the operation of a train in the state. The bill was passed on the final day of the legislative session, Menges reports, and has been sent to Gov. Nixon’s desk for his signature.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – UTU Missouri State Legislative Director Ken Menges is halfway toward a goal of creating a public rail commission to study means of expanding and financing improved multi-modal passenger transportation in his state and throughout the Midwest, with an emphasis on creating a track network capable of supporting 150-mph rail passenger service.
In a show of bi-partisan support, the Missouri House of Representatives has voted 134-2 to create a 15-member commission to recommend best practices to “design, build, operate, maintain and finance an improved rail system for Missouri and the Midwest, including “specific recommendations for legislation, regulations, funding sources and way to integrate the improved rail system into existing and planned Amtrak expansions, airports and public transportation systems.”
The House bill is specific that the improved rail system be designed for 150-mph rail passenger service.
The focus now shifts to the state senate.
Menges said he has been working with representatives of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes, as well as Missouri railroads and the state DOT, to gather bi-partisan legislative support.