Mississippi House passes bills to restrict some labor unions

Mississippi lawmakers are moving ahead with a package of bills to restrict some labor union organizing and picketing practices.

The House passed a package of five bills Wednesday, four of which will return to the Senate for more work because they were amended by the House.

The other, Senate Bill 2689, would stop local governments from restricting employer background checks. It will go to Gov. Phil Bryant for his consideration if House members don’t reconsider it.

Opponents of the bills question whether some are legal under federal law and whether others would have any practical effect. All are being supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“They’re over there passing laws to keep people beat down when they make a pitiful wage,” said Robert Shaffer, president of the Mississippi AFL-CIO union federation.

Senate Bill 2473 would make it illegal to coerce a business into staying neutral in a union drive or allowing workers to choose union representation by signing cards instead of by secret ballot. It’s not clear what would constitute coercion, but businesses could sue anyone they believed engaged in it.

Gulflive
3/5/14