Missouri Influencers Say Businesses, Unions ‘Need Each Other’ For Economic Growth

By on September 21, 2018

From The Kansas City Star:  When it comes to organized labor, a panel of The Star’s readers wanted to know: How can unions and businesses work together to drive economic growth?

Here’s how members of The Star’s Missouri Influencer panel answered the question, with several mentioning fostering better communication and collaboration withing companies and better living wages:

Kay Barnes, former mayor of Kansas City, senior director for university engagement at Park University: “It’s all built on relationships. As a result, both union and business leaders need to make every effort to stay in dialogue even when disagreeing on some issues.”

Michael Barrett, Missouri State Public Defender director: “When workers have disposable income, they spend money. They do home repairs, buy a motorcycle, take their family out for dinner. In other words, they generate revenue for every other employer in the area. Businesses should embrace higher wages and improved working conditions, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it makes good business sense.”

Mark Bedell, superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools: “They need to develop a stronger partnership around advocacy for the workers. There also needs to be collaboration on legislative agenda items that will create more opportunities for employment. I believe we all have the same interests around wanting employees to feel valued and appreciated. If we are not being portrayed as enemies, then I believe that economic growth can take off. That’s the approach I have taken with the bargaining units I interface with.”

Jean Paul Bradshaw, lawyer and former U.S. attorney: “It will require them understanding that they need each other in order to be successful. Winning a particular position in a negotiation that results in a non-competitive position results in both sides losing.”

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