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Missouri Dilutes Prevailing-Wage Law; Passes ‘Paycheck Deception’

May 29, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.—Just before its session ended May 19, the Missouri legislature passed bills to weaken the state’s prevailing-wage law and make it harder for public-sector unions to collect dues. The Senate approved the prevailing-wage measure by 22-9 May 18, while the House, which had voted to repeal prevailing wage completely in March, passed it by 97-50 the next day. The bill, approved largely on party lines, changes the formula used to set wages on public-works projects, to allow lower pay in rural areas. Unless employers in a county report what they paid for at least 1,000 hours of work in an occupation, its “construction minimum wage” would be 120% of its average wage, as determined by the state Economic Development Department. “If we’re wanting to have a race to the bottom, this is a good way to start,” Sen. Jacob Hummel (D-St. Louis), secretary-treasurer of the state AFL-CIO, told the Kansas City Star. Both houses also passed a bill Republicans called “paycheck protection” and unions called “paycheck deception”: It will prohibit public-sector unions from collecting dues without annual authorization from the worker, and require them to win a recertification vote by the workers they represent every three years. Read more


May 29, 2018

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