A Missouri Democratic lawmaker released a restraining order Tuesday against one of his colleagues who allegedly assaulted him for supporting a Republican-backed proposal to end mandatory union dues.
Rep. Courtney Allen Curtis released the restraining order against fellow Democrat Rep. Michael Butler. It alleges Butler attacked Curtis outside a union reception Jan. 19 for supporting a right-to-work proposal put forth last year, reports the local affiliate of Fox News. The policy outlaws mandatory union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
“Every member should feel free to advocate for issues that are of importance to their community without fear of retribution from anyone other than at the ballot box,” Curtis told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Physical or verbal intimidation or violence shouldn’t be tolerated period, especially from members of the general assembly.”
The AFL-CIO hosted the reception which was attended by state lawmakers. Labor unions have been at the forefront of opposing right-to-work proposals across the country. Curtis notes he tried at first not to entertain the hostility when Butler first approached him but the encounter quickly turned into a heated argument.
“[He] said to me ‘you are a bold motherfucker coming in here,'” Curtis notes. “We continued to argue, until it got loud enough to be broken up. After that we went to separate areas.”
The state came close last year to enacting the policy but it was stopped with a veto after passing the legislature. Curtis left the reception not long after believing the incident was behind him. Butler allegedly followed Curtis into an alleyway outside the reception building.
“[He] said ‘talk that shit now’ and walked towards me and swung, and a full fight started,” Curtis continued. “After some time the fight was broken up.”
House Republicans tried to override the veto before the last session ended Sept. 16. They were unable to get the the two-thirds majority necessary to defy the governor. Nevertheless the new legislative session opened Jan. 6 giving supporters another window to propose the policy.
Supporters claim right-to-work helps create jobs while providing workers a choice. Critics, though, claim it undermines the ability of workers to negotiate with their employers. The passage of the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act first allowed states to decide whether they want to be right-to-work or not.
Right-to-work laws do not prohibit workers from freely joining a union. Americans for the most part approve of the policy. According to Gallup, right-to-work approval is at 71 percent nationwide.
Butler did not respond to a request for comment by TheDCNF.
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