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  ·   By Jacob Parker, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Labor, Democrats rally at Old Courthouse

Despite rainy conditions, between 100 and 150 people held a rally Saturday afternoon outside the Old Courthouse, listening to labor leaders and Democratic politicians defend unions they say are under attack by conservatives and the rich.

The Working People’s Day of Action in downtown St. Louis was one of dozens organized around the country in commemoration of the Memphis sanitation workers strike that began 50 years ago this month. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. came to the Tennessee city to support the strike, and was assassinated there on April 4.

Organized labor in Missouri faces a particularly big test this year, when voters will have a chance to invalidate the state’s “right to work” law. Passed a year ago by a General Assembly dominated by Republicans, the controversial law bars requiring workers to join or to pay dues to a labor union as a condition of employment, even if that worker is covered by an employment contract negotiated by the union. 

Union supporters managed to gather enough signatures by August to block the measure and give voters a chance to reverse the Legislature’s action.

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