The Missouri Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would place new requirements on public sector unions.
The Senate increased regulations on a measure passed earlier by the House to call on public unions to hold recertification elections every three years.
A majority of employees in a workplace would have to vote in favor of the unions in order for them to remain certified.
The Senate further changed the measure so that 30% of a work place’s employees could sign-on to call an election to create or break-up a union. Votes from 50% plus one of workers would be required to certify or decertify the organizations.
Republicans, who mostly supported the measure, said it would make public sector unions more accountable to the employees they represent and would better protect workers rights.
Democrat Jake Hummel of St. Louis thinks the measure would unfairly push unions out of public sector workplaces.
“We’re shifting this from the employees being able to have someone speak collectively for them, to try to have better outcomes in collective-bargaining, to just having to struggle to maintain the right to have that representation,” said Hummel.
Under the Senate plan, correction workers, police, firefighters and other public emergency personnel would not be subject to the new requirement in the bill.
Democrat Jill Schupp said the exemptions raise questions. “If this is not good public policy for first responders, why is this bill good public policy for all of our other public employees,” said Schupp.
This bill further requires public labor organizations to keep financial records, identical to those required by federal law for at least five years. The records would have to be available to employees in a searchable electronic format.
The measure passed the Senate 21-11 with three Republican joining eight of the chamber’s nine Democrats to oppose it. The bill will have to return to the House for another vote after the upper chamber made changes.
Approval will have to come quickly if the measure is to go to the governor’s office as the legislative session ends Friday at 6 p.m.
Several other labor-related bills are moving through the Republican-dominated legislature at the last minute. The House could finalize a bill to move up a public vote on a labor-backed ballot measure from November to August while the Senate could approve a House-backed plan calling for a public vote on a Constitutional amendment to make right to work the law of the land.
The Senate could also finish off approval of a measure to repeal Missouri’s prevailing wage law, which requires that workers on public works projects receive pay equal to similar contract work in a given region.