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This newsletter highlights events and programs offered through the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

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State Board of Mediation 101

State Board of Mediation

The State Board of Mediation (SBM) is a quasi-judicial board created by the General Assembly in 1947 to assist in the resolution of labor disputes in the public utility industry. The SBM’s primary activity, however, changed in 1965, with the passage of the Public Sector Labor Law, §§ 105.500 to 105.530 of the Missouri Revised Statutes.

The Board exists to provide a forum for most public employees to exercise their constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively with their employers over the conditions of their employment.  The Board will determine the makeup of appropriate bargaining units and then conduct elections in those units to determine whether a majority are in favor of being represented by a particular labor organization. 

In Missouri, unions represent 23.2 percent of public employees, while only 7.9 percent of private employees are represented.

The SBM’s jurisdiction under the Public Sector Labor Law is to determine appropriate bargaining units and to certify exclusive bargaining representatives extends to almost all public employees, including those employed by the state and its agencies, counties, cities, school districts, fire departments, and other special districts. The SBM, however, does not have jurisdiction to resolve such matters for police officers, deputy sheriffs, Missouri Highway Patrol officers, Missouri National Guard members, or teachers at schools, colleges, and universities. These types of employees still have the right to organize and bargain collectively, but the SBM has no authority when they are doing so.

The Process

If a public employer and a petitioning labor organization cannot agree as to the makeup of an appropriate bargaining unit or on the manner of conducting the election, the SBM will hold a formal hearing at which the parties may present evidence and legal arguments in support of their positions on the disputed questions.  After considering the evidence and the legal points made, the SBM issues a written decision resolving the disputes.

If a majority of the members of a bargaining unit do vote for the labor organization in an SBM conducted election, the SBM certifies it as the exclusive bargaining representative for all the unit members for the purposes of collective bargaining. The labor organization will then negotiate with the public employer of the unit members over salaries and other conditions of employment with the goal of reaching a written agreement governing these matters. The labor organization will also represent unit members with regard to individual employment issues that may arise, such as disciplinary charges.

The SBM consists of five members appointed by the governor. Two members are employers or selected from an association representing employers, two members hold membership in a bona fide trade or labor union, and the fifth member is a neutral party who serves as full-time chairman and administrator of the agency.

If you would like to file a petition with the SBM, you can learn more about the petition process.

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Seasonal Hiring/Partial Benefits

Seasonal Hiring/Partial Benefits

Looking for part-time, seasonal work? With the upcoming holiday season just around the corner, now is the time to start applying for seasonal positions. A variety of businesses will be looking to hire some additional employees to help during the holidays.

Even though many of these positions are deemed temporary, it is possible for part-timers to be offered permanent positions.

Some jobs that pick up around the holiday season include work in retail, service, delivery, warehouses, restaurants, and tax preparing.

Even though you will be earning wages, you may be eligible to receive partial unemployment benefits if you work less than full time. To remain eligible, you must continue to look for and be able to work full time. Be sure to report your wages (wages before deductions) the week they’re earned, not the week they’re paid.

The benefits paid when working less than full time will be reduced: Take your weekly wages and subtract $20 or 20 percent of your weekly benefit amount (WBA), whichever is greater. That amount is your deduction, which will be subtracted from your WBA and rounded down to an even dollar amount. Any withholding for federal taxes, etc., is taken from this amount. You can check out our partial benefits calculator here.

You may be able to receive partial benefits for the week if the wages do not exceed your weekly benefit amount. If it’s excessive, it may extend the period of time a person is able to collect benefits. 

For some additional tips about claiming partial benefits while doing seasonal work, check out this video.

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Severe Weather Preparedness-Great Central U.S. ShakeOut

Severe Weather Preparedness-Great Central U.S. ShakeOut

Most of your waking hours during the week are spent at work which is why it is crucial that you know what to do in the event of a storm while you are on the clock.

Planning ahead for a storm makes the difference in saving lives. It’s important to take an assessment of your workplace and find spaces where employees can be safely sheltered during a storm. Stairwells are ideal safe places when they are located in the center of the building because they are fortified and surrounded by walls.

The most important thing to remember during a storm is to keep your head and neck protected. You should try to get under a table or desk to protect you from falling debris. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, drop to the ground and then if possible move to an inside corner of the building.

1. Drop! 2. Cove! 3. Hold On!

If you use a wheelchair or have other mobility impairments and cannot Drop, Cover, and Hold On, you should protect your head and neck with a pillow or your arms, and bend over to protect yourself if you are able. Most injuries and deaths caused by earthquakes in the U.S. occur from falling or flying objects hitting you (TVs, lamps, glass, bookcases, etc.) than from collapsed buildings.

If you working outside when a storm occurs, move away from electrical wires, buildings, and anything else that could fall and hurt you, but only if you can safely do so. If you are driving, the safest thing to do is pull over to the side of the road, stop, and set the parking brake. Avoid parking near bridges or overhead hazards and stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over.

It’s important to prepare your staff with regular drills so they will be able to act swiftly in the event of a storm. The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut drill is Thursday, Oct. 17. Residents of the Central U.S. need to be better prepared before the next big earthquake, and practice how to protect themselves when it happens. The purpose of the ShakeOut is to help people and organizations do both. Sign your workplace up to participate today!

For more tips about how to be storm aware at work, check out this video!

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