JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri judge on Friday temporarily blocked additional restrictions on public unions from taking effect, as a legal challenge to the new law plays out in court.
St. Louis County Circuit Judge Joseph Walsh in his order called the law a "farce" and wrote that the unions fighting the policy appear likely to succeed.
"Several of the challenged provisions of HB 1413 significantly burden both the right to collectively bargain and the right to choose a representative" as established in the Missouri Constitution, he wrote. "As a result, they are presumptively invalid."
At issue is legislation passed last year by Missouri's Republican-led Legislature to require some public employee labor unions to hold an election every three years on whether workers want to continue their representation.
The law would require a majority of workers, not just a majority of the workers who voted, to approve unions.
Other provisions require public-sector unions to get annual permission to deduct dues from workers' paychecks and include bans on picketing or striking in contracts.
Spokesman Chris Nuelle in a Friday statement said the Attorney General's Office, which defends state laws, is still reviewing the order.
"However, we will continue to defend our Constitution and the Constitutionality of the statues enacted by the Legislature," he wrote.
The unions suing to invalidate the law, including the Missouri National Education Association, lauded Walsh's order.
"This is another misguided effort from an out-of-touch legislature that is hurting working people by attacking our right to bargain for better wages, safe work environments, and better learning conditions for our students," Lori Sammelmann, an instructional coach and president-elect of the Ferguson-Florissant National Education Association, said in a statement.