Missouri’s workers stand to lose discrimination protections, minimum wage increases

Missouri’s workers will bear the brunt of sweeping policy changes that were approved during the state legislature’s 2017 session.

With Republicans firmly in control of the governor’s office and both chambers of the legislature, they took the opportunity to back long-awaited policy proposals, including making it harder for employees to sue for discrimination and blunting the power of labor unions.

The impact could be dramatic for workers and businesses. The city of St. Louis, for example, will lose a higher minimum wage about three and a half months after it went into effect. Organized labor groups stand to become much weaker than in years’ past, and it could be more difficult to get businesses to pay up in a case of alleged discrimination.

“We’ve got a lot of things finished that in my lifetime, I thought we’d never do,” Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard said. He noted, however that his party didn’t pass everything they wanted.

That could mean other bills to curb lawsuits or restrict the power of labor will show up in future sessions, making people like Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis nervous.

“Make no mistake: They’re going to be back,” Louis said. “They are on the top of the list. And the top of whose list they’re on is what really concerns me. It’s the big donors.”

Read more: St. Louis Public Radio

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