JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Republicans in Midwestern states are pushing to curb the power of organized labor, but have been careful to avoid upsetting key political constituencies - police and firefighters.
Missouri's Republican-controlled Legislature wants to join other states in restricting the unions' ability to collect and spend worker fees. But there is a clear effort to avoid angering emergency workers.
A bill pending in Missouri's Senate would require public employees to give annual consent for money to be deducted from their paychecks and spent on political activities. But it wouldn't apply to emergency responders.
Wisconsin lawmakers took a similar approach in crafting legislation to curb collective bargaining in 2011. Michigan followed suit a year later when it became a "right-to-work" state, which prohibits the payment of union fees as a condition of employment.
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