A bill known to supporters as “paycheck protection” is back again this year and is being considered by a House committee. The proposal would require permission from public employees annually before union dues could be taken from their paychecks.

Reps. Holly Rehder and Clem Smith

Reps. Holly Rehder and Clem Smith

Opponents consider the measure to be closely associated with “right to work,” which would bar making the paying of union dues a requirement of employment.

Bill sponsor Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) argues that the bill would give workers the choice each year to decide if they want to belong to a union.

“When they try to get out of the union, which is allowed, union officials have consistently put up roadblocks and it takes multiple attempts and multiple discussions,” said Rehder. “This bill takes that uncomfortable situation away and just makes it an annual written process.”

Representative Clem Smith (D-Velda Village Hills) opposes the bill.

“The outcome of this is, you are going to make local unions spend more money and more of the dues payers resources to go to this annual system of signing members up. This isn’t a fancy program that’s out there. It’s a lot more involved. This could bankrupt some unions,” said Smith.

“It’s big government coming down on the little person who happens to be a public employee and mandating them to make a decision that they’ve already made.”

The House Workforce Standards and Development committee still needs to vote on the proposal.