Missouri top court strikes down anti-picketing law

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, March 31, that a 2018 law banning public union workers from picketing is unconstitutional.

Supreme Court judges unanimously sided with a lower court judge’s decision to strike that provision from law.

Public-sector workers are already prohibited from striking. But the 2018 law, passed by the Republican-led state Legislature, banned picketing “of any kind.” The law allowed employees to be fired for picketing “over any personnel matter.”

Two Jackson County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers who held public demonstrations for higher wages sued, and the Supreme Court ultimately agreed with them.

Judges wrote that the law banning picketing was too broad. They said workers are allowed to demonstrate and picket about certain issues so long as they don’t do so as part of a strike.

“Public employees have a right to exercise their freedom of speech about matters of public concern when that speech does not impede the efficiency of the public services the state performs through its employees,” judges wrote.

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