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Teamster President Says Back Off

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James Hoffa
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) __ Teamsters General President James Hoffa came to the Missouri Capitol on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to back off from several proposals that he denounced as a “war on workers.”

Some Missouri Republicans are pushing legislation that could take a bite out of union finances by prohibiting closed-union shops and automatic union dues deductions from paychecks. Hoffa said the Missouri legislation is part of the same “right-wing agenda” that has led to restrictions on public employee bargaining in Wisconsin and Ohio and other anti-union proposals in Indiana and Florida.

“There is a war on workers going on throughout the country,”  Hoffa said in an interview conducted at the Capitol office of Democratic State Treasurer Clint Zweifel. He later added: “This is not about workers’ rights. It’s about getting rid of unions.”

The Republican-led Missouri Senate passed legislation earlier this month that would require public employees who are members of unions to give annual consent for dues to be deducted from their paychecks. The Republican-led Missouri House passed a proposed constitutional amendment last month that would require secret-ballot elections on workplace decisions on whether to unionize, something that already occurs.

Although it has received only limited debate, another Senate proposal would make Missouri a “right to work” state in which union fees could not be required as a condition of employment. The legislation is backed by Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer.  Hoffa said he met briefly Tuesday with House Speaker Steven Tilley, whom he described as “reasonable in approaching these issues and not being doctrinaire.” Tilley has said the “right to work” legislation is not part of the pro-business agenda that his chamber laid out at the start of the session.

Copyright The Associated Press

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