International Workers’ Day, often marked by protests, marches and celebrations by organized labor, may be muted in Missouri this year due to restrictions passed by the state legislature.
There is a bright spot for workers in St. Louis this year, at least, as the minimum wage will rise to $10 in the coming days and to $11 by 2018.
But Republican lawmakers and Gov. Eric Greitens accomplished their goal of instituting a “right-to-work” law earlier this year. When it goes into effect Aug. 28, unions and employers won’t be able to require workers to pay dues.
Supporters of right to work say it makes the state more competitive in the business world, but union leaders believe it’ll lead to lower wages.
And on Thursday, Greitens received another bill aimed at limiting union power. Under the measure, which the governor is likely to sign, all state funding would be cut off for local governments that require project labor agreements — or when non-union construction workers must pay union dues when working on a local construction project.
May 1 is the traditional union laborers’ day, going back to an 1886 strike for an eight-hour work day.
Read more: St. Louis Public Radio