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Missouri stops withholding union dues for prison guards, service workers

Missouri Corrections Officers Association and State of Missouri seals
ABC 17 News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - (AP & KMIZ)

The state of Missouri has stopped withholding union dues from the bi-monthly paychecks of prison guards in what the union’s grievance officer calls a “pitiful attempt to bankrupt” the labor organization.

Gary Gross, executive director of the Missouri Correctional Officers Association, told ABC 17 News the Missouri Office of Administration made the change Dec. 9.

The move has left the association with a funding shortfall as it negotiates a new contract with the state for 5,000-plus guards and sergeants.

"Our people have been stepping up and our attorneys are looking into whether any laws were broken," Gross told ABC 17 News Friday.

The change also affect bargaining units of the Service Employees International Union and the Communication Workers of America.

The Office of Administration cites a request by the CWA to resume union dues deductions and a recent request by the local SEIU unit to increase it's member's withholdings as the reason it decided to review and ultimately change its practice.

A letter sent to SEIU Local 1 on Dec 9. from the Office of Administration said the current method of withholding dues did not meet the standard set forth in a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision which ruled that consent for the withholding of union dues must be, "freely given and shown by clear and compelling evidence."

The MoCOA union and the state have been negotiating a new contract for over a year, since the old one expired in September 2018.

MoCOA members are working under the terms of the old contract.

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Joe McLean

Joe reports stories all across mid-Missouri, including our WasteBusters series of reports, and co-anchors ABC 17 News at 9 a.m. with Zara Barker.

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