Public unions sue Missouri over law altering state hiring

Three labor unions are suing to block a new Missouri law that makes it easier to fire state employees, saying the law violates collective bargaining rights protected under the state constitution.

An estimated 25,000 public workers — or about half of Missouri’s state employees — are affected by the law.

The law changed Missouri’s merit system, which dictated that most employees are hired based on performance on a standardized test, rather than political allegiance.

Former Gov. Eric Greitens backed the law as a means of more easily hiring, firing and rewarding state workers. He signed it on June 1 before leaving office. Gov. Mike Parson also supports the law.

The unions say in their lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Cole County, that the new law brought drastic changes to the terms and conditions of their employment, making them vulnerable to termination for “no reason or any reason.” The changes disregard existing contracts, the suit says.

The unions that filed the suit are the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, Council 61; the Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, Local 6355; and Service Employees International Union, Local 1.

Read more: Jefferson City News Tribune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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