Missouri right-to-work vote – POLITICO
MISSOURI RIGHT-TO-WORK VOTE: Labor unions face a major test in Missouri this week as voters decide whether to ban the mandatory collection of so-called fair-share fees in private-sector workplaces. The issue of the fees — which unions collect from non-members to cover their portion of collective bargaining costs — will be on the ballot during a statewide primary Tuesday, David Lieb reports for The Associated Press.
The vote “could be a watershed moment for unions, if they can halt what has been a steady erosion of strength in states with historically deep-rooted support,” the AP reports. “If they lose that fight, Missouri will become the 28th state with a law that prohibits labor groups and employers from forcing workers to pay mandatory union fees.”
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The Supreme Court dealt organized labor a heavy blow in June when it ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that public-sector unions could not charge non-members mandatory fees. Now, labor backers and opponents have turned their attention to Missouri. The AP reports that “even though union members comprised just 8.7 percent of Missouri’s workforce last year,” there’s been $20 million spent on the ballot initiative.
The left-leaning Economic Policy Institute projected in July that roughly 60,000 fewer Missourians would be covered by a union contract if voters approve a right-to-work law. According to EPI, the average worker in a right-to-work state makes 3.1 percent less in hourly wages than the average worker in a state without such a law. Read more from the AP here.
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AFTERMATH OF JANUS: Unions already have lost millions in fees from public sector employees since the June 27 Janus ruling, Kris Maher reports in The Wall Street Journal.
“Pennsylvania stopped collecting agency fees from 24,000 state workers that totaled $6.6 million last year,” the Journal reports. “In New York, which has the highest rate of public sector union membership, the state stopped collecting agency fees in July from 31,000 state workers which totaled between $9 million and $10 million last year.” In both cases, tallies of lost fees are expected to grow as additional workers are factored in.
“These are the first signs of how the high court’s decision is hitting union coffers,” writes Maher. “The ruling could erode the financial and political clout of public-sector unions, in part by prompting unions to divert funds once used for politics to the costs of running a union.” More here.
DACA HEARING IN TEXAS: A federal judge will hold a hearing Wednesday over an attempt by Texas and six other states to halt the Obama-era DACA program. The states, which filed a lawsuit in May and subsequently moved to enjoin the program, argue that DACA overstepped the authority of the executive branch. The Trump administration said in June that it wouldn’t defend the initiative, but a group of 22 Dreamers and the state of New Jersey have intervened in its place.
The judge hearing the case, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, blocked a broader deportation relief program in 2015. If Hanen rules against DACA, it will conflict with decisions by three federal judges who put the brakes on Trump’s planned wind down of the program. Thomas Saenz, president of MALDEF, which represents the Dreamers in the case, said on a recent call with reporters that it’s “really hard to say” how such a scenario would play out, except that the conflict would need to be elevated to a higher court.
Further complicating litigation is a Friday ruling from U.S. District Judge John Bates, who ordered the administration to restart the DACA program in full by Aug. 23. Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, one of the parties in that litigation, said after the ruling that a lasting solution for Dreamers is an “economic imperative and a humanitarian necessity.” Read more about the ruling here.
Recommended read (and listen): NPR’s Sam Gringlas and Ari Shapiro examined the business of immigration detention, which ICE expects to boom in coming years (the Trump administration called for a 28 percent increase in detentions beds in its latest budget request). Some towns welcome the jobs, even amid allegations of detainee mistreatment. Find more here.
LABOR EMERGENCY: “Cities across the U.S. are struggling to find 911 dispatchers as a historically tight labor market makes it harder to fill a job that was already a tough sell,” Sarah Krouse reports in The Wall Street Journal. The jobs pay slightly better than typical call center gigs ($20.20 mean hourly wage versus roughly $18), according to the Journal. But they’re “emotionally taxing” and require shifts at night, on weekends and during holidays. “Portland has struggled to hire both police and call-center employees in recent years and now offers applicants a $10,000 bonus,” the Journal reports. More here.
RUNNING FOR OFFICE (AND FROM ALLEGATIONS): “More than a dozen politicians who have been accused of misconduct are running for state legislatures again anyway,” Julie Turkewitz and Alan Blinder write in the New York Times. “Among them are a Kentucky legislator accused of sending racy text messages to an aide, a Pennsylvania lawmaker involved in a six-figure sexual harassment settlement and a Wisconsin representative accused of forcible kissing.” In some cases, lawmakers are seeking forgiveness. In others, they’re betting voters won’t believe the allegations or will vote for them anyway. More here.
Related read: “He’s a superstar pastor. She worked for him and says he groped her repeatedly,” from Laurie Goodstein in the New York Times. Find it here.
JUDICIARY’S FISHMAN TO DHS: George Fishman, chief counsel on the House Judiciary Committee’s immigration subcommittee, will head to DHS to become deputy general counsel, three people with knowledge of the move tell Morning Shift. The move comes as Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) prepares to retire at the end of the year. Since Trump took office, the committee has passed legislation to create a new agricultural guest worker visa and institute mandatory E-Verify, H.R. 6417 (115), as well as bills that boosted interior enforcement, H.R. 2431 (115), and targeted so-called sanctuary cities, H.R. 3003 (115). The committee and DHS did not respond to requests for comment.
AT&T DEMANDS PENSIONS PAYBACK: The telecom giant AT&T overpaid pensions for 17 former employees — and has turned to collection agencies to claw back the money, Theo Francis reports in The Wall Street Journal. AT&T and Fidelity Investments, which maintained the pensions, have sought a total of $1 million, according to the Journal.