Assault on Missouri Workers Continues in Jefferson City

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'Cause guys like this need extra protection.
  • 'Cause guys like this need extra protection.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry continued its mission this week of using the economic recession to scare lawmakers into thinking they need to make the state more "job friendly" by stripping low-level employees of certain rights.

As mentioned here earlier this month, one of the chamber's objectives is to repeal Missouri's minimum-wage law that voters statewide approved in 2006. That effort faced additional hearings this week in the Senate after already passing through committee in the House.

Meanwhile, yesterday the House passed (95-59) a bill (HB205) that would make it virtually impossible for employees to sue employers for discrimination. That's because the bill requires fired employees to prove that discrimination was the "motivating factor" in their termination instead of just a "contributing factor." The same piece of legislation limits damages to $300,000 in the off-chance that a discriminated worker could prove his or her firing was motivated solely by discrimination.

Providing key testimony on the legislation was Rich AuBuchon, general counsel for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce. The bill, sponsored by freshman rep Kevin Elmer (R - Nixa), also limits the amount of money that "whistleblowers" could collect should they be fired by their employer after reporting illegal business practices at the company.

Yesterday the Missouri Chamber of Commerce also announced it would join the union bashing popularized lately in Wisconsin and Indiana by backing "right to work" legislation in Missouri. Such a proposal would prohibit closed-shop businesses in Missouri, in which all employees must be part of a union and pay union fees.

Opponents of the measure say such a bill would allow non-union members to enjoy the benefits of collective bargaining that has improved employee salaries and working conditions without paying for the costs of securing such contracts. Moreover, such a bill would ultimately further weaken unions in Missouri. As it is now, just around 11 percent of Missourians belong to organized labor.  

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