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Missouri court strikes down public labor union restrictions

A stock image of a judge's gavel.
A stock image of a judge's gavel.(Storyblocks)
Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 2:44 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a 2018 state law imposing new restrictions on public-sector labor unions because the Republican-led Legislature had carved out police and firefighter unions from its tougher requirements.

In a 5-2 ruling, the Supreme Court majority said the law violated equal protections rights guaranteed by the Missouri Constitution by treating public safety unions differently than those representing teachers and other public employees. The court said the entire law had to be invalidated, because the exemptions were woven throughout it.

The state law required unions representing public employees to hold recertification elections every three years and get annual written authorization to deduct fees from workers’ paychecks, among other things. But it exempted unions representing law enforcement officers, firefighters, ambulance personnel, registered nurses, physicians and Department of Corrections employees.

St. Louis County Circuit Judge Joseph Walsh blocked the law from being enforced in March 2019. The Supreme Court’s decision permanently strikes it down.

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