, , , , , ,

Organized labor has a thing or to to say to Governor Jay Nixon in support of a veto of HB 749:

The Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO is urging Governor Nixon to veto Senate Bill 749,

an attack on the rights of American workers.

Organized labor has struggled to extend and maintain workers’ rights, by fighting against many intrusive forms of legislation. One such piece of legislation, S.B. 749 is a violation of every American’s right to decide their health care. It gives employers the unchecked ability to force their own religious beliefs upon their employees. America was built on the idea that people can go to different places on Sunday, but come together on Monday. This principle has given us the freest and most productive economy in the world. Under S.B. 749, employees must check their religious freedom at the workplace door, and take their bosses’ religious beliefs home at the end of the day.

Passing this piece of legislation has seriously negative implications, which will lower the quality of life for Missouri. An employer who manages thousands of workers may refuse to cover the basic, sensible procedures, even when most or all of the employees’ religious views permit these procedures. An employer can impose one religion on all employees. This logic taken to extreme would allow employers to restrict any medical procedure. For instance, it is against the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses to accept blood transfusions, and it is against the beliefs of the Church of Christ, Scientists to seek out any medical professional, using prayer as their only medicine. How would you like to have your boss tell you that they only provide prayers for your child in that case of serious illness or injury?

S.B. 749 also poses an internal conflict with other dumb legislation. For instance, House Bill 708 (anti-Sharia law) proposed this past session, would ban the application of any foreign law that does not provide identical protections to domestic law. S.B. 749 now provides governmental protection to foreign religious law in Missouri workplaces. This is not the direction we should be headed, and vetoing S.B. 749 is the only feasible solution. After all, neither the Catholic catechism nor Muslim sharia was created on American soil.

Using an employer’s religious convictions as a lens to establish health care coverage for employees is unquestionably dangerous, and illegal.  Once started on this path to restrict reproductive coverage, we will see an upsurge of employers using this law against medical coverage of any kind for their employees. Regardless of your personal beliefs about the issue of contraception and abortion, it comes down to protecting workers’ rights in our workplaces. What is done with the coverage thereafter is to each their own personal decision, but to be able to make that decision is strictly an American right. This bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It threatens the religious freedoms of every Missouri employee. We urge the Governor to veto S.B. 749.


Patrick A. Dujakovich

President, Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO

Yes, there’s a certain lack of ironic awareness when the republican majority in the General Assembly uses government to impose one individual’s religious belief system on others. Nah, with them it’s a feature, not a bug.