Unions

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Several hundred Kansas City-area fast-food workers, along with members of labor unions, clergy and their supporters, started Labor Day with an early morning rally on the grassy lawn at 33rd and Southwest Trafficway, stressing their demand for $15 an hour and union rights.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Workers at Kansas City-area McDonald's, Burger King and other restaurants are planning to participate in what's being billed as a national strike on Labor Day, calling for $15 an hour as well as union rights.

Terrence Wise, who works at McDonald's and is a leader of the organization Stand-Up KC/Fight for $15, says workers in his industry don’t get the day off. But they're taking the day off anyway because they want to bring back the meaning of Labor Day.

Pixabay - CC

Adam Foss, a former assistant district attorney in Suffolk County, Mass., says today's justice system is the same as the one created hundreds of years ago, and it's failing a lot of people. Today, a conversation on how prosecutors can help fix the criminal justice system. Then, we get caught up on the state of organized labor in Missouri and the status of the

Joan Marcus

In America, the split between conservatives and liberals can be dramatic. Today, we find out how the concept of American exceptionalism can divide and separate us from ourselves and our Western counterparts. Then,  Actors' Equity president Kate Shindle makes the economic argument to keep funding of the National Endowment for the Arts in the federal budget. She also talks about her role and the issues explored in the groundbreaking musical Fun Home.

Missouri unions assess losses, victories on May Day

May 1, 2017

International Workers’ Day, often marked by protests, marches and celebrations by organized labor, may be muted in Missouri this year due to restrictions passed by the state legislature.

“We’ve definitely taken a few hits this year, there’s no doubt,” said Pat White, president of the St. Louis Labor Council AFL-CIO.

Gov. Eric Greitens took a road trip Monday in celebration of making Missouri the nation's 28th right-to-work state.

The Republican signed Senate Bill 19, which bars unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues, at three ceremonies. The first one was in Springfield at an abandoned warehouse before a small crowd of supporters.

Jvikings1 / Wikimedia Commons

After success in the state House of Representatives last Thursday, a right-to-work bill is front and center today in the Missouri Senate. We look at the pros and cons of forcing workers in unionized companies to pay union fees. Then, we learn about one Good Samaritan's efforts to reduce a rash of break-ins in Hyde Park.

(Updated January 18)  Members of the Missouri House have taken a big step toward delivering a right-to-work law to Missouri.

On Wednesday, the House initially passed state Rep. Holly Rehder’s legislation, which would bar unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues. The Sikeston Republican’s bill, which passed 101-58, also paves the way for criminal penalties for anybody that violates the proposal.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A sea of red beanies, T-shirts and flags filled the median at 63rd and Paseo in Kansas City Tuesday night as more than 400 people gathered for the final phase of the "Fight for $15's Day of Disruption."

Workers nationwide celebrated the fourth anniversary of the Fight for $15, and the $61.5 billion low-wage workers have reportedly earned since the movement launched in 2012.

As Missouri's gubernatorial election draws near, the right-to-work debate hangs in the balance. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is in Kansas City to address his group's state convention, and says results from the races for governor and president will affect the future of organized labor.

Inspired by a Harvest Public Media series on safety in the meatpacking industry, we explore how you reform an industry.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Rep. Randy Dunn (D-Kansas City) joined KCUR's Statehouse Blend podcast this weekend to discuss proposed cuts to the University of Missouri system budget.

Rep. Dunn was one of five representatives who voted no this week on an amendment to a House budget bill that would cut the University of Missouri system's funding by $7.6 million. The House Select Committee on Budget voted 20-5 in favor of the cuts.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Joe Runions from District 037 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss local control, Ferguson, and gridlock in Jefferson City.

Guests:

  • Joe Runions, Rep. from District 037, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Tricia Bushnell, Citizen
  • Dave Hudnall, Staff Writer, The Pitch

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.

The labor union representing film, television and radio actors, announcers, and newscasters plans to close its Kansas City office.

Is Anti-Union Rhetoric Full Of Myths?

Mar 18, 2013

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.

jimmywayne / Flickr

Supporters and opponents of legislation that would make Missouri a right-to-work state crowded into a hearing room Wednesday at the State Capitol. 

The bill would forbid workers from being forced to join unions or pay union dues as a condition of employment. 

Greg Hoberock, national chair of Associated Builders and Contractors, testified in favor of the measure.

“I don’t think this bill excludes union membership, I think it give the employee the right to make their own choice to further (their) income and to have a job and to do what they want to do,” said Hoberock.

Wikimedia Commons - CC

A Kansas House committee has passed a bill that would stop public unions from making automatic paycheck deductions used for political advocacy. Currently, union members can agree to deductions from their paychecks that are used for political purposes.

The bill  brought up heated debate in the House Commerce Committee. Opponents of the bill say it takes away an option for public employees to make political contributions.

Annie Tietze is a Topeka Democrat.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released union membership numbers today. The percentage of Missouri workers who are members of a union dropped to less than nine percent in 2012, following two years of slight gains.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Leading into weekend campaigning, supporters of the two leading candidates for the U.S. Senate race in Missouri show no sign of slackening efforts.

With US Airways breathing down its neck, making nice with its unions as well as its creditors, American Airlines came to New York City on Monday to ask a federal bankruptcy judge for relief. Mostly, American wants relief from its unions — 13,000 jobs would be eliminated under its reorganization proposal. American has been hemorrhaging money for years and wants to lower its costs to compete.

Jefferson City, MO – Union leaders in Missouri are not happy with a new health insurance plan for state employees. It replaces the current co-pay system with one that requires state workers to pay deductibles. Richard von Glahn is with the Missouri State Workers Union.

"We are frustrated because state employees are gonna be faced with higher out-of-pocket health care costs the Missouri legislature continues to choose policies that balance our revenue crisis on the backs of state workers," says von Glahn.