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There’s a new kid on the block, the St. Louis Democratic block, that is. Last fall, Rea Kleeman, a local activist started a group that she hoped would help local Democrats strengthen ties with the state Democratic party and help that entity put out a more effective message. That goal may yet materialize, but in the meantime we are not sitting on our duffs. We’re on the move. We have decided to target vulnerable Republican incumbents in the metro area–and perhaps even a traitorous Democrat or two.

The group has a brand spanking new name that gives us a lot to live up to: Missouri Progressive Action Group (MOPAG). We began taking action by contacting local unions. At a meeting this week of representatives from the thirteen Metro area Teamsters Unions, MOPAG member, Bob Burns, laid out the case for working together. He told them what they already know, of course, that education is key, that we have to let voters know what Republicans are doing to pummel the working guy while giving every multimillionaire the cash he needs to buy a vacation home at Martha’s Vineyard and an extra Lamborghini. Burns said that Democrats have got to start figuring out how to come up with a plan of action, and he promised them that our members would be there to help them in any way we could.

We’re only 85 members strong right now, but we expect that number to grow. And some of our members will be out there when the unions distribute flyers about labor issues at Busch Stadium June 3rd. They’ll also stand by union people at similar events later in the summer. The flyer that union people will hand out will lay out in clear terms some of the double dealing dirty work Republicans have been up to. It explains, for starters, that Republicans tried to revoke what we voters passed on minimum wage (DID YOU ACTUALLY THINK THAT YOUR VOTE COUNTED?) and describes Jane Cunningham’s ham handed attempt to revoke child labor laws (CHINA, TAIWAN, INDIA, BANGLADESH, “MISSOURI“?)

By the same token, if and when we pick vulnerable Republicans to target and start doing lit drops in their districts, those union members may want to come out and help us do that. Suppose we were to target, for example, a state senator who filibustered against extending unemployment from 79 to 99 weeks and accused people in that fix of not being willing “to get off their backsides and get a job”. Union workers might take offense at such a senator’s aspersions on working people and think that going after him was a dandy idea. Since neither Lembke nor Nieves has lifted a pinkie to create jobs for the three hundred thou unemployed in this state, could someone tell us and the Teamsters why those senators deserve to keep their own jobs?

Bob Burns is a union guy through and through, and he was warmly received. I’m glad I tagged along to the meeting, because I learned a lot. For one thing, a lawyer for the union educated us about the upcoming legal battle in this state over forcing municipalities to allow  workers to form a union.

Any St. Louis area progressive wanting in on the action can do two things. The first would be to call Rea Kleeman (314-727-7374) and ask to be put on the mailing list. The second is to attend the next monthly meeting of the group on Saturday, June 4th, at 1:30 p.m. at the Mid-County (Clayton) branch of the St. Louis County Library at 7821 Maryland Ave. We’ll be discussing how to boot out of office some of these haters of public schools, puppies, and poor people.

Oh, and there’s one more thing you could do: offer to help pass out those union flyers on June 3rd. Call Teamsters Local 682 at 314-647-4768.