Yesterday, House Speaker Todd Richardson and House Budget Chairman Tom Flanigan “urged” Gov. Jay Nixon to push for a raise for state employees.
We support this effort, as we support efforts to raise wages for hard-working families everywhere.
But let’s not forget what Flanigan, Richardson, and nearly 100 of their colleagues have done to make Missouri state workers the lowest paid in the nation. Like many Republicans, they have done everything in their power to reduce the power of public sector unions, which in turn has reduced their wages and kept them in poverty.
They’ve supported laws that weaken their collective bargaining power, limited their ability to strike, and essentially applied Right-to-Work type laws to the unions supporting our teachers, first responders, and more.
We are happy to support efforts to raise wages for all workers that have earned a better life, but we also cannot let these new efforts obscure just how we got here: by pushing more and more laws that punish workers.
In The Missouri Times, Rep. Mike Bernskoetter, a Jefferson City Republican with plenty of public sector employees in his district, admitted that higher wages attract better employees.
“If we want to attract and retain a talented and dedicated workforce, we must find a way to pay them a competitive wage,” Bernskoetter said.
We agree! But that principle must apply to the private sector as well, where hard-working families are struggling to make ends meet and provide the best life.
“The UFCW family fully support a raise for state workers,” said Local 655 President David Cook. “It’s our hope that Republicans pushing for a pay raise for state workers will apply those same principles to a discussion about raising the minimum wage, which would help lift countless hard-working Missourians out of poverty.”