Missouri: Lucky Number 28
The Show-Me State goes Right-to-Work
By Olivia Grady
Missouri is the latest state to become Right-to-Work after Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (R), who was elected in 2016, and the state legislature passed Right-to-Work. It was the last state of its neighbors to become Right-to-Work (Illinois is partially Right-to-Work).
On February 6, 2017, Governor Greitens signed Senate Bill 19 into law after the Missouri House approved the bill on February 2nd with a 100-59 vote. The state Senate had passed the bill 21-12 on January 25th. The law will take effect on August 28, 2017.
The unions have objected. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2 is a St. Louis based union that purportedly represents construction linemen, clerical workers, and municipal workers, among others. The union hosted a rally on February 2, 2017 in front of the Capitol building to oppose the bill. Hundreds of workers attended.
On January 10, 2017, Mike Lewis, the president of the Missouri AFL-CIO released a statement about the new labor legislation:
“These deceptive right to work bills are wrong for Missouri. They are nothing but government overreach into the private contract negotiations between businesses and their employees, their each of chosen representatives – the businesses lawyers and the employees’ elected unions.
The very people that we elected to create new jobs are ignoring that priority and instead are creating more bureaucracy to appease the deep pockets of the uber-rich CEO’s who donated to their campaigns.”
Supporters of the bill, however, were less pessimistic. Dan Mehan, President and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce said that wages would not fall and the number of jobs would increase with the passage of this bill:
“Much of the debate has centered around the inaccurate statement that right-to-work legislation lowers wages, but that is simply untrue. Comparing job growth in right-to-work states with non-right-to-work states over time shows that this policy does not reduce wages.”
The battle in Missouri over Right-to-Work has been going on for some time. The previous governor, Jay Nixon (D), vetoed Right-to-Work several times. On September 16, 2015, House Republicans even tried to overrule Nixon’s veto, but unfortunately failed.
While this is great news for Missouri, labor unions could invalidate this law by asking for a referendum by Missouri voters next year. Representative Doug Beck (D-Affton) already tried to do this by introducing an amendment to the legislation that would require a referendum. Republicans objected. Mike Louis has also filed initiative petitions that would amend the state Constitution.
Center for Worker Freedom congratulates Missouri legislators for promoting liberty and prosperity in their state through Right-to-Work.