Unions | KCUR

Unions

Segment 1: Flooded fields and fallout from trade wars could mean another rocky year for farmers.

Climate change, flooding, and bankruptcies are just a few of farming's biggest issues — a list that spans a country mile. With voices from Kansas and Missouri, representing small farmers and Big Ag, we dug through the biggest obstacles facing farmers going into 2020.

Segment 1: Unionization of Graduate Workers

At universities across the country, graduate workers are calling for better wages and benefits. In this conversation, we find out how this movement has permeated through Missouri.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

At the end of last year, most telecom analysts thought the proposed $26 billion merger between Sprint and T-Mobile was coasting towards an easy approval from the federal government.

But since then, opposition forces have surfaced, prominent Democrats are taking it on as a cause, and the deal’s approval chances now appear to be at 50-50. An analysis by Bloomberg called it "anybody's guess."

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

When Terrence Wise testified in front of Congress on Feb. 7, it wasn't the first time he'd visited Washington. The minimum-wage worker and organizer introduced former President Barack Obama at a 2015 Worker Voice Summit at the White House.

Segment 1: What's going on with unions in Missouri?

Last year, union membership in Missouri went up, bucking a national trend of declining numbers. But the bigger picture is much more complicated. In this conversation, we take a close look at the current climate of local unions.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Local leader of Fight for $15 told his personal story at a U.S. House hearing to support an increase of the federal minimum wage. 

It's been a decade since Congress authorized a federal minimum wage increase. Currently, two bills passing through the U.S. House of Representatives look to nationally hike the least amount paid to workers to fifteen dollars by 2024. We talked about the possible positive and negative effects of higher wages and what the opportunity to speak directly to federal lawmakers meant for one Kansas City advocate. 

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s budget plan includes a raise for all state employees, who on average are the lowest-paid in the nation.

“We're going to invest in the state workforce,” state budget director Dan Haug said. “We have had some studies done and we had employees below what the market minimums were, so we're going to try to get almost all of our employees up to that.”

J.E. Milles Studio, LaBudde Special Collections, Miller Nichols Library / UMKC

Segment 1: Control of venerable jazz institution to be decided in court.  

Kansas City is home to three National Historic Landmarks, and an unassuming building near 18th and Vine is one of them. The Mutual Musicians Foundation has been a meeting place for jazz greats like Charlie Parker for more than a century and is known for its late-night jam sessions. We learned about its long musical history and what is behind the latest power struggle for the foundation.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Veteran Chicago firefighter begins stint in Kansas City, Kansas, with 100-day plan.

Two months in as chief of the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department and Mike Callahan figures he's 60 percent done with his goal "to visit every fire station on every shift to hear from the field what their concerns are about the department." He's met the command staff and his counterparts in law enforcement, and is working through evaluating equipment in the stations.  "The need here," he says of the department, "is some structure, consistency and discipline."

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

Performance space, more check-in areas and restroom doors that swing out — those are some of the concepts incorporated into the latest design renderings for the new single terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson arrived in Kansas City on Thursday for what he said was a commitment to working with the state's two biggest cities. He was joined by Democrats Kansas City Mayor Sly James and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson on a multistop tour of the city.

Sophia Tulp / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Missouri voters have two tasks Aug. 7. One is choosing their candidates for the general election. The other is deciding whether Missouri should become a right-to-work state, effectively banning unions from requiring that workers pay dues.

Kurt Bauschardt / Flickr--Creative Commons

Segment 1: "Healthy homes" ballot initiative addresses rental property inspections. 

Kansas City, Missouri, voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on a "healthy homes" initiative this August 7. If the measure is approved, rental properties in town will be subject to health department inspections if community members complain about their condition. Today, we learned why supporters think the measure will hold landlords more accountable, while those against it think the initiative will drive landlords away from Kansas City properties.

Missouri voters could have several marijuana proposals to choose from this fall, along with ballot issues that seek to increase the state’s minimum wage and change Missouri’s process for crafting legislative districts.

Backers turned in signatures for six initiative-petition proposals by Sunday’s deadline. Four of them deal with marijuana.

Two of the proposals would legalize marijuana for medical use, while two others would legalize it for recreational use as well.

Raymond Clarke / Flickr - CC

Procter & Gamble has announced that it will close its manufacturing plant in Kansas City, Kansas.

Employees heard the news Wednesday morning. The plant primarily produces dish soap such as Dawn and Ivory; all of its production will transfer to a new site in Tabler Station, West Virginia by 2020, effectively putting 280 full-time employees out of work.

The Procter & Gamble news comes just a week after the Kansas City Harley-Davidson plant announced its closing.

Statehouse Blend
Chris Young / KCUR 89.3

The year 2017 saw the transformation of a relatively unknown outsider into a globe-trotting governor who might just be the most interesting man in Missouri. Division abounded in Jefferson City; sometimes even among the various Republicans who dominate the House, Senate and governor's mansion. But the raft of news laws have made Missouri a different place—whether for better or worse depends on one's perspective.

Meanwhile, 2018 promises to be no less fascinating, with likely debates tax reform and education, budget cuts and transportation ... and, oh yes, a looming election.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Several hundred Kansas City-area fast-food workers, along with members of labor unions, clergy and their supporters, started Labor Day with an early morning rally on the grassy lawn at 33rd and Southwest Trafficway, stressing their demand for $15 an hour and union rights.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Workers at Kansas City-area McDonald's, Burger King and other restaurants are planning to participate in what's being billed as a national strike on Labor Day, calling for $15 an hour as well as union rights.

Terrence Wise, who works at McDonald's and is a leader of the organization Stand-Up KC/Fight for $15, says workers in his industry don’t get the day off. But they're taking the day off anyway because they want to bring back the meaning of Labor Day.

Pixabay - CC

Adam Foss, a former assistant district attorney in Suffolk County, Mass., says today's justice system is the same as the one created hundreds of years ago, and it's failing a lot of people. Today, a conversation on how prosecutors can help fix the criminal justice system. Then, we get caught up on the state of organized labor in Missouri and the status of the

Joan Marcus

In America, the split between conservatives and liberals can be dramatic. Today, we find out how the concept of American exceptionalism can divide and separate us from ourselves and our Western counterparts. Then,  Actors' Equity president Kate Shindle makes the economic argument to keep funding of the National Endowment for the Arts in the federal budget. She also talks about her role and the issues explored in the groundbreaking musical Fun Home.

Missouri unions assess losses, victories on May Day

May 1, 2017

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.

“We’ve definitely taken a few hits this year, there’s no doubt,” said Pat White, president of the St. Louis Labor Council AFL-CIO.

Gov. Eric Greitens took a road trip Monday in celebration of making Missouri the nation's 28th right-to-work state.

The Republican signed Senate Bill 19, which bars unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues, at three ceremonies. The first one was in Springfield at an abandoned warehouse before a small crowd of supporters.

Jvikings1 / Wikimedia Commons

After success in the state House of Representatives last Thursday, a right-to-work bill is front and center today in the Missouri Senate. We look at the pros and cons of forcing workers in unionized companies to pay union fees. Then, we learn about one Good Samaritan's efforts to reduce a rash of break-ins in Hyde Park.

(Updated January 18)  Members of the Missouri House have taken a big step toward delivering a right-to-work law to Missouri.

On Wednesday, the House initially passed state Rep. Holly Rehder’s legislation, which would bar unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues. The Sikeston Republican’s bill, which passed 101-58, also paves the way for criminal penalties for anybody that violates the proposal.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A sea of red beanies, T-shirts and flags filled the median at 63rd and Paseo in Kansas City Tuesday night as more than 400 people gathered for the final phase of the "Fight for $15's Day of Disruption."

Workers nationwide celebrated the fourth anniversary of the Fight for $15, and the $61.5 billion low-wage workers have reportedly earned since the movement launched in 2012.

As Missouri's gubernatorial election draws near, the right-to-work debate hangs in the balance. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is in Kansas City to address his group's state convention, and says results from the races for governor and president will affect the future of organized labor.

Inspired by a Harvest Public Media series on safety in the meatpacking industry, we explore how you reform an industry.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Rep. Randy Dunn (D-Kansas City) joined KCUR's Statehouse Blend podcast this weekend to discuss proposed cuts to the University of Missouri system budget.

Rep. Dunn was one of five representatives who voted no this week on an amendment to a House budget bill that would cut the University of Missouri system's funding by $7.6 million. The House Select Committee on Budget voted 20-5 in favor of the cuts.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Joe Runions from District 037 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss local control, Ferguson, and gridlock in Jefferson City.

Guests:

  • Joe Runions, Rep. from District 037, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Tricia Bushnell, Citizen
  • Dave Hudnall, Staff Writer, The Pitch

Melinda Robinson

On Wednesday, Central Standard host Gina Kaufmann discussed a recent photography exhibit, I, Too, Am America. The photographers are part of the Langston Hughes Club, about 20 fast-food workers who, along with an organization called Stand Up KC, have been on strike for the last two years, pushing for an hourly wage of $15 and a union. Working with photojournalist Steve Herbert, they documented the world through their own eyes.

The guests were:

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