Legislative Report 4-12-19

Pay for state employees: Governor Parsons has proposed a 3% pay increase for all state workers. The Personnel Advisory Board (PAB) has supported this proposal. So far, funding for a 3% raise for state workers remains in the state’s budget for fiscal year 2019-2020. This increase will begin to be reflected in state worker paychecks on 1-15-20. This represents much less than a meaningful pay raise advocated for by CWA. Funding for the Missouri Consolidated Health Plan is questionable. We would like to keep the cost of healthcare down for state workers.

Creating hurdles for constituents: Last November, the will of the people was made clear at the election polls. Missouri voters overwhelmingly voted for democracy reform, increasing the minimum wage and repealing the anti-worker Right to Work legislation law from the 2017 legislative session. Those votes happened because of the petition process Missouri has, to get items onto the election ballot. Legislators in the Missouri House and Senate are considering multiple bills to gut the process to keep voters from having a say in what happens to them. They are also pushing bills that will gut Amendment 1 that passed November 2018. If they succeed, it will be harder to challenge the agenda of the greedy corporations and wealthy individuals that has been passed off as laws constituents are asking for in some legislators’ districts. We must defend the win and ensure we have reasonable processes to challenge outrageous laws and address statewide issues.

Public employee lawsuit update: CWA has joined with other unions representing public employees to challenge the laws passed in 2018 legislative session known HB1413 and SB1007. Both laws went into effect on August 28, 2019. HB1413 was intended to break public worker unions. This legislation made it nearly impossible for public workers to engage in collective bargaining with state agencies. It also made it nearly impossible for public workers to belong to a union through payroll deduction of union dues. A St. Louis county judge ruled in a preliminary injunction hearing that multiple parts of this law are unconstitutional and the unions prevailing in this lawsuit was likely. HB1413 was put on halt in its entirety until a judge makes a final decision in court. [SB1007 made most state workers “at will” employees. This means you could be fired at any time and the state would not have to give you reason. This goes against what we stand for. In most situations, workers should be notified of the issues that need correcting and given time to correct them before termination is an option.  The state of Missouri used this law to try to take away our grievance process. A Cole County judge ruled that the state must immediately have a grievance process for all workers eligible to be in the union. This is a huge win for us as union members.

Action time: State workers have chosen to stand up and fight. We are fighting for justice in the workplace, on our paychecks and our entire benefits packages. We will not sit idly by and keep being stripped of our rights and our dignity. We are joining our union and getting our coworkers to join the union. We are working to hold elected officials accountable. We are participating in the election process. We are having events around issues in our office. We are working with community groups to increase awareness of what it means to be a public worker. We are committing to be in the fight and making our voices heard. Will you join us? Are you ready to make a change for the better? Are you ready for better days for public employees? Will you stand in solidarity with us?

CWA Local 6355 President: Natashia Pickens

Stand up, fight back! Join Missouri State Workers Union—CWA TODAY! www.cwa6355.org; mail@cwa-mswu.org, 1-800-575-6355

“United We Bargain, Divided We Beg”