In addition to the union members who attended yesterday’s rally at the IBEW complex a number of area public office holders addressed the rally or were in attendance, including Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders (D), Jackson County Legislator Theresa Garza Ruiz (D), Missouri State Senator Victor Callahan (D), Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley (D), among several others.
Toward the end of the rally we spoke with former Missouri State Representative and House Minority Leader Paul LeVota (D):
Show Me Progress: …What’s the importance of stopping, uh, the so called, uh, “right to work” Senate Bill 1 for workers in Missouri.
Former Missouri State Representative and House Minority Leader Paul LeVota (D): Well, it’s important to create jobs in Missouri and this is gonna go the wrong way. It’s gonna reduce wages, it’s gonna reduce, uh, money for education and the teacher, it’s gonna reduce, really, the middle class standard of living. And, and that’s the point. It’s why they want to try this legislation.
Show Me Progress: So, you know, in, in, in sort of the real world what’s the, you know, you try to think what’s the motivation for people to, to, to literally propose something that will do that in Missouri. What, what’s their, their whole thought process?
Paul LeVota: This is so these big businesses can make more money. It’s simply that. They don’t have to pay workers as much for their skill set. Um, they reduce the number of, uh, skilled workers and then they don’t have to pay ’em as much so they get to keep more money in their own pocket…
American Federation of Teachers: “This is what a Union Thug looks like.”
…Show Me Progress: But, you know, the, the problem with the logic of that is, well, is, there are more, basically, there are more workers than, than there are people who, you know, own corporations in the sense of, run them, and, and profit from them, so, aren’t they cutting their own throats?
Paul LeVota: In the long term they’re cutting their own throats ’cause they’re not gonna have the workers they need to grow their business. Um, we have seen a sharp decline not only in Missouri, but in the U.S. of manufacturing workers. We need to be innovators. Well, we need to have skilled workers to innovate. We need to have a great education system in the state to innovate, to create new jobs and new, uh, growth in our state. This is just backwards. And every other state that’s done this has gone backwards. And, uh, it’s, it’s the Republican Party, in majority, trying to show their political power by paying back, um, their heavy contributors. That’s what this is all about.
Show Me Progress: You know, but, we’re seeing this across the country. Uh, it’s sort of, is there sort of a coordinated play book for them to do this?
Paul LeVota: Absolutely. Coordinated play book. Traditionally the Democratic Party has stood up for, uh, the middle class and working people, Republican hasn’t. So you stop union collective bargaining, right to work, you weaken them, and you weaken the Democratic Party. And it all goes together for, um, more power in the, in the government to make the richer richer and the poorer poorer.
Show Me Progress: Thank you very much for your time.
Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association, Local 2.
The United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers.
The United Auto Workers had a sizable contingent.