Blunt challenges fees for state workers

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Missouri's secretary of state, Matt Blunt, is questioning the legality of a proposed rule that would force some new state workers to join a union and pay dues or pay the union's service fees as a condition of employment.

Blunt says it's not right.

He's right.

He also says it's illegal.

He may be right on that point too, although it will probably take a lawsuit to find out.

Unions say courts have already rules that service fees are legal.

But Missouri law clearly says state workers cannot be forced to give money to private organizations, and Blunt contends unions are private organizations.

We wouldn't want state workers, or any workers for that matter, to be required to give money to a religious denomination, political party or civic club.

Blunt's questioning is in direct defiance of new union powers supported by Gov. Bob Holden, who has granted, by executive order, collective-bargaining rights to nearly 30,000 of the state's 65,000 employees.

Workers seeking employment with the Department of Corrections, Department of Mental Health and Missouri Veterans Commission are now being told they must either join the union or pay fees intended to help cover union-negotiation expenses. Otherwise, they can't accept a state job.

If Missouri's workers don't want to be covered by unions, they shouldn't have to be.

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