You'll probably recall that in June of 2001, Gov. Bob Holden quietly signed an executive order that granted collective bargaining rights to nearly 30,000 state employees. The order basically said that to work for some agencies in state government you either were forced to join their union or to pay a special fee to that union as a requirement for being hired.
For decades, the Missouri Legislature has routinely stood strong against the collective bargaining arrangement. But Holden ignored that policy and changed the process with one stroke of the pen. Business groups and the Republican officeholders were unanimous in their criticism of the Holden move.
But Holden, as is well-document, is beholding to the unions in Missouri. It's unions who largely fund the Holden political machine and the collective bargaining order was his way of returning the favor.
Well now the time has arrived and some new state workers will be forced to pay this service fee or join the union beginning Sept. 1.
The well-respected Sen. John Russell said the collective bargaining plan was "about the worst thing that has happened in state government." Sen. Peter Kinder said the Holden order is the "beginning of the union shop in Missouri state government that we've been warning against."
Holden meanwhile has kept his customary silence. The good Governor is in political hot water in his party and will face a substantial political challenge next year when he seeks re-election. He must know the collective bargaining order was not popular among most Missourians but he also recognized that the money from unions is crucial if he is to mount a challenge for re-election.
Holden has blundered in so many ways it would take far too much ink and newsprint to detail here. But his absurd unilateral move to grant union funding is in a league by itself.
The day will come when Holden will pay and pay dearly for his political games. He may not make it out of his party's primary next year. If he does, he will likely be so wounded that he will limp into November for his final hurrah.
The election can't come soon enough for our tastes. And Bob Holden can't leave office soon enough either.