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Archive for Monday, February 11, 2013

Democrats propose initiatives, criticize bills opposed by unions

February 11, 2013

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— Democratic legislators Monday blasted Republican-sponsored anti-union proposals they said would silence opposing viewpoints.

Measures that would prohibit voluntary paycheck deductions for union political action committees, eliminate collective bargaining laws, delay unemployment benefits and change the workers’ compensation appeal process are all moving through the Legislature.

“I have never seen an all-out assault on working Kansans like we are witnessing right now,” said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence.

Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, said House Bill 2023 is taken straight from model legislation put together by the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council.

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce-backed measure would prohibit public union members from making voluntary payroll deductions to their organization’s political action committee.

Supporters of the bill say it would protect workers who disagree with their unions and remove government from the process of deducting pay for union activity.

But Holland said that HB 2023 was an example of measures supported by Charles and David Koch “to benefit their interests.”

The brothers are the owners of Wichita-based Koch Industries and financial supporters of several conservative causes.

Missy Cohlmia, a spokeswoman for Koch Industries, said the business did not lobby on this bill. She added, “Equally troubling is the senator’s attack on a Kansas-based company that employs nearly 3,000 people in the state and pays compensation and benefits totaling more than $370 million.”

House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, defended the Republican-backed measures.

“House Republicans believe in giving Kansas workers options,” Merrick said. “The bills empower workers to negotiate the terms of their employment directly with employers, giving them more freedom and more choices. This is good for the worker as well as the employers who create jobs.”

The Democrats held a news conference to unveil a series of measures they said would help working families.

One proposal would create preferences to hire Kansans and purchase from Kansans first in the procurement of state labor and services.

Another would increase the state minimum wage by tying it to the consumer price index. The current state minimum wage is the same as the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

And Holland has introduced a bill that would require state government to use the federal database E-verify to check the immigration status of new employees. The legislation also would apply to state contracts.

Comments

Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 10 months ago

"I have never seen an all-out assault on working Kansans like we are witnessing right now," said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Great...how about the majority of taxpayers that are working Kansans that everytime one of these public unions get their way ... we take a pay cut!

chootspa 1 year, 10 months ago

If you get a pay cut every time a public union gets their way, you might want to get a new job. It sounds like you have a bad boss.

Truth 1 year, 10 months ago

How do the majority of Kansans take a pay cut when public unions "get their way?" Can you give specifics? What are you talking about when you use the phrase, "get their way?"

Stuart Sweeney 1 year, 10 months ago

Why don't you negotiate with your employer directly as Ray Merrick says and get that raise? See how far that will get you!

Alyosha 1 year, 10 months ago

"Sit down and shut up Paul / Tom" is hardly the kind of civic language one would expect of the citizen of a self-governed people.

And it would be wonderful if you could actually provide an argument supporting your assertion that smaller government is the key to economic prosperity. That's a quite suspect assertion.

texburgh 1 year, 10 months ago

Thanks for putting this link here! You've just helped prove that "Missy Cohlmia, a spokeswoman for Koch Industries" is a liar. You see, AFP was founded by and is still funded by the Koch brothers. AFP's Derrick Sontag (hubby of Sherriene Sontag, Brownie's spokeswoman) testified in favor of the union-busting bill HB 2023. Connect the dots...Koch Industries lobbied in favor of the union-busting bills that Missy says they didn't lobby for.

dwendel 1 year, 10 months ago

"Republicans please continue to cut taxes and spending because smaller government is the key to economic prosperity!"

Somehow, RC, I do not think you will benefit from the R's "tax cuts" in the great state of Kansas. But at least you can brag that your team won, even as your aggregate tax bill goes up up up. (Too bad, so sad.)

And, since politics is all about cheerleading, trash talk and "winning" for you, please remind us of how your team did in the last national election. "Romney by a landslide!" you said (over and over and over and over and over and over again.) And now you predict prosperity in Kansas. Lord help us.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 10 months ago

So who is going to step up and run against Brownback to stop him from having another 4 years to continue down this path?

Armstrong 1 year, 10 months ago

"One proposal would create preferences to hire Kansans and purchase from Kansans first in the procurement of state labor and services."

I believe the last time this idea was in the LJW numerous libs threw this under the bus. How popoular is it now ?

Truth 1 year, 10 months ago

When did the Dems dislike this idea?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

"The bills empower workers to negotiate the terms of their employment directly with employers, giving them more freedom and more choices. This is good for the worker as well as the employers who create jobs," he said.


Translation-- The workers have the right to shut the hell up and go back to work, and be happy they have a job at all.

Katara 1 year, 10 months ago

"Supporters of the bill say it would protect workers who disagree with their unions and remove government from the process of deducting pay for union activity." FTA

They already have those protections. SCOTUS made sure that they did with Communications Workers of American v/ Beck. This is already established law and there is no need to pass new law for what already exists.


"House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, defended the Republican-backed measures. “House Republicans believe in giving Kansas workers options," Merrick said.

"The bills empower workers to negotiate the terms of their employment directly with employers, giving them more freedom and more choices. This is good for the worker as well as the employers who create jobs," he said." - FTA

Is our House Speaker aware that Kansas is a right to work state and employees can choose to negotiate the terms of their employment directly with employers? Does our Speaker not understand what right to work means?

Katara 1 year, 10 months ago

"Chairman Pyle said he believed associations representing cities and counties could be formed without the use of tax dollars, similar to how he pays dues to the Kansas Farm Bureau to represent his interests. Asked if his state legislative salary is used to pay those dues, he said that wouldn't matter.

"You pay a teacher that is paid with public funds, but when the teacher receives that money that then is private funds and that teacher can do what they want with their money. It's their paycheck," he said." http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/feb/11/statehouse-live-fight-over-taxpayer-financed-lobby/?c=2249570

Wonder how Chairman Pyle will vote on House bill 2023?

Dan Eyler 1 year, 10 months ago

The only concern the teachers unions have is this. If the teachers and other state employees have to write the check rather than having directly withdrawn from their pay checks will they? The union already knows the answer to that question. NO, unless there is a solid reason to and a case can be made to convince them. Making the case to contribute takes a lot more effort than getting the money up front with no questions asked. This is the way it should work. Pass the legislation into law.

Greg Cooper 1 year, 10 months ago

In the state of Kansas, there is now a compellingly "solid reason" for the teachers, firemen, and policemen to make those contributions, and that is people such as you who have absolutely no understanding as to the workings of the unions.

You will, I am sure, at a moment's notice, spout some horror story about Uncle George and the Communist conspiracy that led to----oh, well, you knoow what I mean.

Union activity in Kansas is meant to protect workers' welfare on the job (got a problem with that, kf?), to promote better relations between labor and management (sounds like a bad idea, huh?), to create a loiving, breathing bargaining unit that will take care of the people who do the jobs that affect each and every one of us (next time your home is burgloed or your kid is missing, try and think how it might be if police were paid less than they are and had to take second jobs just to live, or the fire department was just volunteer, due to low wages).

You who decry the unions', by that I mean the people's, right to collectively bargain for their own welfare, have more to be learned than you know. I hope the legislature has a spate of sensibility and loses this bill in the round file, but, and this is a sad thing, I believe that, until each and every Kansas resident experiences the dumbing down of the state by ALEC, AFP and the neo-Republican party of Kansas, there will be a period of the utmost non-prosperity for the majority of Kansans.

ATR920 1 year, 10 months ago

Teachers will still right the check. In fact most teachers in the state are already signed up for an EFT. So I guess you are wrong as usual. The KNEA was way ahead of this, they knew this was coming from day 1 and already have their ducks in a row.

werekoala 1 year, 10 months ago

What's funny is that as a right-to-work state, in Kansas, union membership is no more compulsory than buying Girl Scout cookies.

I know the professional anti-government brigade knows this, but it serves their purposes to pretend otherwise. I'm not sure whether the Kansas legislators are in on the gag, or they're just as duped as many I'd the posts above seem to be.

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