Missouri Union Boss to Voters: I Know Better

Posted by Olivia Grady on Monday, December 19th, 2016 at 4:19 pm - Permalink

By Olivia Grady

Missouri is finally likely to become a right-to-work state in 2017, thanks to the election of Missouri Governor-elect Eric Greitens.

Missouri Republicans have worked hard over the years on right-to-work and have come close. For example, on June 4, 2015 current Democrat Governor Jay Nixon vetoed House Bill 116, the bill that would have made Missouri right-to-work. The Republican Legislature was unable to override the veto. 

In Nixon’s veto message delivered to the state house on June 4, 2015, he claimed right-to-work was bad for the economy:

This attack on working Missourians would stunt economic growth by reducing workforce training opportunities and driving down wages.

Another reason Nixon gave was that right-to-work would impinge on the rights of employers:

Accordingly, at its core, a so-called “right to work” law is a government-mandated prohibition directed against an employer’s (emphasis in original) right to contract. Through this governmental interference, House Bill No. 116 would take away the rights of an employer to decide for itself how to run its business.

Now that Republicans control all three branches of the state government, Missouri can become the 27th right-to-work state. In anticipation of the new governor, State Representative Holly Rehder (R) and state Senator Dan Brown (R) filed right-to-work bills after the election in November.

Labor union leaders however are not thrilled with this prospect and are trying to derail it.

Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis filed a petition on December 13, 2016 with the Secretary of State’s office for a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot, which would reverse right-to-work legislation should it pass in the coming year.

The proposed changes to Article 1. Section 29 of the Missouri Constitution would read:

That employees shall have the right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing. No law or ordinance shall restrict or impair an agreement which requires employees to support their chosen collective bargaining representative. The rights guaranteed by this section shall be unalienable. Any restrictions on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny and the State of Missouri Shall be obligated to uphold these rights and under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement.

According to the last Gallup poll in 2014 though, 71 percent of Americans support allowing workers the option to join a union.

The people of Missouri elected Republicans knowing that they support right-to-work. The Missouri AFL-CIO President’s coming unglued is just the latest example of liberals not accepting the election results.