Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Following Up on Some Issues Raised Here

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Following Up on Some Issues Raised Here

Article excerpt

By its nature, daily journalism tends to interest readers in a story, then leave them hanging. With that in mind, here are follow-ups on some issues raised in this space:

The video of 100 Los Angeles police attacking 400 janitors who were demonstrating for better working conditions and union recognition in the summer of 1990 wasn't pretty.

Vince Schoemehl, then the mayor of St. Louis, called it "a classic police riot," gave $100 to the L.A. janitors - and sent the video to St. Louis police "to circulate within the training department."

Protesters and the union sued the LAPD and the city, alleging that 60 janitors and supporters had been injured, including a woman who lost a baby when hit in the stomach with a billy club.

Now, the janitors have won a $2.35 million settlement. The Service Employees International Union, the janitors' union, says it's the biggest amount awarded in damages for police brutality during a protest march.

St. Louis' Bill Stodghill, SEIU international vice president, said Thursday: "I don't think that $2.35 million is enough for the pain and anguish that those injured picketers and protesters endured. There's very little justice left in America."

The Virginia-based National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation argued six weeks ago before the Missouri Court of Appeals here that it wanted to protect workers from being forced to join a union.

The foundation had sued the St. Louis Board of Education and Service Employees Local 50, alleging 17 custodial or food workers not in Local 50 shouldn't have fees deducted from their paychecks for work the union did on their behalf.

Local 50 said the foundation was simply trying to weaken unions.

Both sides agreed the case had import for Missouri's industrial relations system, particularly 50,000 public employees. The parties said that if the court upheld the agreement between school officials and the union, it could lead to an "explosion" of similar arrangements for public employees across the state.

Well, the appeals court here has decided the school board and union have the right to tell employees that their working conditions include a "fair share" payment to the union. …

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