labor unions

Melinda Robinson

On Wednesday, Central Standard host Gina Kaufmann discussed a recent photography exhibit, I, Too, Am America. The photographers are part of the Langston Hughes Club, about 20 fast-food workers who, along with an organization called Stand Up KC, have been on strike for the last two years, pushing for an hourly wage of $15 and a union. Working with photojournalist Steve Herbert, they documented the world through their own eyes.

The guests were:

Mark Fischer / Flickr Creative Commons

Last week we saw the closing of another Supreme Court session with landmark rulings about religious freedom, cell phone privacy, and recess appointments. But there was another decision: a 5-4 ruling that may have an impact on unions and how they operate, including right in the Kansas City area. On Tuesday's Up To Date,  guest host Brian Ellison talks with the AFL-CIO's Craig Becker on the highest court in the land's ruling on union agency fees.

The largest teachers union in Kansas is promising a legal challenge to part of a controversial education funding law. The legislation includes additional school funding in response to a court ruling, but lawmakers also added policy changes that angered many teachers.

The bill makes it easier to fire teachers in Kansas, by eliminating the guarantee of a due process hearing before a teacher is removed, if the teacher requests it. The KNEA says the provision was added to the bill in an improper manner.

Republican lawmakers in Missouri are again trying to pass so-called "paycheck protection" legislation that would bar some unions from automatically withholding dues from employees.

Fast Food Wage Protest Aims To Gain KC Momentum

Aug 29, 2013
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

More than a hundred people striking fast food chains brought their second one-day action in a month to   Kansas City area locations.

The demands were higher pay and right to unionize without retaliation.

They carried signs but did not picket three locations and it was more a protest rally than formal strike.

More than 1,000 United Mine Workers of America members were back in St. Louis Monday, the latest in a series of protests against Peabody Coal and its handling of their retirement and health care benefits.

St. Louis-based Peabody Coal spun off Patriot in 2007, and made it financially responsible for most retiree benefits. The rally is the first since a bankruptcy judge ruled last month that Patriot can impose sharp cuts in those benefits to get the company profitable again.

Anti-union rhetoric has been trumpeting out of of recent debates in Wisconsin and Michigan, but one labor activist says much of it is a myth.

The Missouri House has passed legislation that would allow some school districts to exempt themselves from the prevailing wage requirement for construction and maintenance projects. 

The sponsor, Republican Casey Guernsey of Harrison County, says it will allow rural schools in particular to be able to afford much-needed expansions and upgrades.