St. Louis Labor Controversy: Is City Forcing New Employees To Sign Anti-Union Agreement?

"The document basically informs new employees that your benefits are subject to change," Rainford tells Daily RFT. "All of our benefits in America are pretty much subject to change."

He says this document comes from the fact that the city is currently in litigation with the firefighters and that there was misinformation being spread -- that their benefits could never change.

Since that fact does not line up with city policy, he says, the city counselor recommended that they write new language for hires that makes it "abundantly clear...that benefits can change."

"It's nothing new. It's not a new policy, not a new law.... It doesn't mean anything that Lewis Reed is saying," says Rainford.

But since word got out about this, Slay met with union leaders this morning to discuss this and "agreed that the language came across as being harsh...and it was creating angst and anxiety," Rainford says.

The mayor will withdraw the agreement as written and develop new language that protects the city's legal position, but doesn't create as much anxiety, Rainford says. He emphasizes that there will still be no policy change, but simply an adjustment in language.

"The mayor acknowledges that the way it was worded is open to creating anxiety and he doesn't want to create anxiety," he says.

All the attention around this issue has to do with campaign season and the Carpenters Union's endorsement of Reed, he argues.

"If this was a normal day and not two weeks before an election...all of this would be worked out," Rainford says.

Carpenters Union endorses Reed.jpg
The Carpenters Union has endorsed Reed in the race for mayor.

The Reed campaign held a press conference at City Hall this morning to spread the word about this issue.

Here's the memo and attached agreement document.

Benefits Acknowledgement Form

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