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Union Order Review

August 22, 2001
By: Anna Nichols
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - GOP legislators are considering an effort to undo the governor's executive order that allows unions to seek service fees from state workers.

House GOP leader Catherine Hanaway said Wednesday she is considering a petition campaign to include the issue in the legislature's Sept. 5 special session.

"The legislature has been turning back collective bargaining on a bipartisan basis. It is unthinkable, really, that the governor would do this by executive order," the St. Louis County lawmaker said.

Adding an issue to a special session requires the signatures of three-quarters of both the House and Senate members. The governor can call a special session or add an issue at anytime by a simple order.

Hanaway said she had not made a final decision. She said one of the factors would be whether she could gain sufficient support from Democrats to get the required signatures.

Hanaway said she had not talked to any Democrats about the idea.

She said she had talked about such an effort with the top Senate leader, Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau.

Also on Wednesday, Kinder came under Democratic attack for using state e-mail to voice his objections to the governor's order.

Earlier this week, Kinder used state government's e-mail system to send a memo to 20,000 state employees voicing his objections to the governor's union order.

In the e-mail, Kinder urged employees to report any incidence of harassment "in any fashion related to this order."

The state Democratic Party's executive director, Mike Kelley, charged Kinder with using state resources for political purposes.

"Peter Kinder spreads his brand of spiteful politics quicker than the Code Red virus can infect a network," Kelley said in a statement issued by the Democratic Party.

Jim Grebing, Communications Director for the Missouri Democratic Party said Kinder's e-mail was "misleading and deceptive" and a "shameful abuse of power."

But David Barklage, one of Kinder's top aids, said Kinder's memo was proper.

Barklage said the Senate leader sent the e-mail because the governor's order has made many state employees "ill at ease about their rights."

Holden's order was signed on June 29 and covers those state agencies under his control. The state agencies under the governor's direct control are those that are not controlled by a bureau or commission.

It grants state employees collective bargaining rights and grants unions representing those employees rights, if agreed upon by agency directors.

One of those union rights would be the power to have service fees deducted from non-union employees' paychecks to pay their "fair share" for union negotiations on their behalf.

The order also allows for binding arbitration with a federal arbiter if there is a deadlock between the unions and the state.

The Senate has set up a special committee to investigate labor contributions to Gov. Holden's inaugural fund and any connection between contributions and the executive order.

But it may be a GOP-only committee. Earlier this week, the Senate's Democratic Leader, Sen. Ed Quick, D-Kansas City, said he would name any Democratic members to the committee.