House Republicans have advanced another piece of their labor reform agenda, sending to the Senate legislation they call “paycheck protection.” Democrats decry the bill as an attack on unions, calling it “paycheck deception.”
House Bill 251 would bar the automatic deduction of union dues and fees from a public employee’s paycheck without that employee’s annual, written consent. It also specifies that information on how such deductions are used must be available to employees.
St. Louis Democrat Doug Beck said the bill is an attempt to take away the voice of middle class workers.
“Workers already have this freedom, to join or not join a union. They can do it any time during the year. We heard plenty of testimony on this. They make it real easy on public employees whether they want to join or not join; whether they want to give money to political cause or whether they don’t want to give money to political cause,” said Beck. “I don’t understand why we care about what people do with their money after they earn it. It’s their money. They can do what they want with it.”
Bill sponsor Jered Taylor (R-Nixa) rejected the argument that the bill is an attack on workers.
“I would say it’s the exact opposite of that. It allows them to choose whether they want to be a part of the union. Rather than having to go through multiple people, do multiple things in order to get out of the union, being forced to pay those dues,” said Taylor.
The legislation was sent to the Senate on a 95-60 vote.
House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) said his supermajority will continue working on labor reform legislation that Republicans believe will improve Missouri’s business climate and bring more jobs to the state. The next such issue the House will debate will be project labor agreements.