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MO considering right-to-work law again, would skip governor’s veto

By   /   February 7, 2013  /   News  /   3 Comments

FLASHBACK: It was just a year ago that union workers swamped the south lawn of the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City in opposition of a push to pass “right-to-work” legislation. (AP file photo)


By Johnny Kampis | Missouri Watchdog

ST. LOUIS – A bill that could make Missouri the 25th right-to-work state would skip the governor’s veto pen and go straight to voters.

A standing-room only crowd made up largely of union workers Wednesday listened to testimony before the House Workforce Development and Workplace Safety Committee on House Bill 77, which would prevent employees from having to pay union dues as a condition of employment at any jobs in Missouri.

The Missouri General Assembly has attempted to pass similar legislation the past two years, but Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed the bills both times. This effort would skip Nixon and allow voters to decide on the matter in November.

The committee heard from Jared Rodriguez, president of the Michigan Alliance for Business Growth, who was a key player in that state’s passage of right-to-work legislation last year.

“It’s just not fair in today’s world that anyone should have a government-created monopoly that permanently supplies them with members and their revenue,” he said. “Unions should fight for their members, and the key point is … earn their support. If unions are working on behalf of their employees, employees will be happy to contribute.”

United Steelworkers spokesman Richard Craighead said he worries that a right-to-work law would create freeloaders in the work place.

“A lot of people want to pay their dues or pay for what they get. Others, as you know, if they get the opportunity, they will not pay,” he said. “That creates a situation where people on this side are mad, people on this side are mad.”

Rep. Karla May, D-St. Louis, expressed concerns about fairness in having new employees entering jobs under right-to-work after unions have paved the way.

“You come to this place and you want to benefit from this increase in salary and the benefits that have been negotiated for you, you don’t want to pay your fair share?” she asked.

MAY: Has concerns about fairness in the workplace with a right-to-work law.

Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, said he knows of three companies that declined to locate in his district in western Missouri because the Show Me State doesn’t have a right-to-work law.

The bill is sponsored by Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, who argues that it would make the state more economically competitive. More than a dozen other Republican lawmakers have co-sponsored the bill, including House Speaker Tim Jones, who previously said he didn’t think right-to-work would pass in Missouri.

That was before lawmakers restructured the legislation to send it to the people for a vote.

The Republican-led Michigan Legislature passed a similar law in December, which was signed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. In 2011, Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a law that ended nearly all collective bargaining for public-sector unions. Both measures drew thousands of pro-union protesters to the state capitols and the Wisconsin action was a major contributing factor to the 2012 recall election there.

The House committee did not vote on the bill Wednesday.

Contact Johnny Kampis at [email protected] For more Missouri Watchdog updates, visit Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for a free newsletter.



Johnny Kampis is National Watchdog Reporter for Watchdog.org. Johnny previously worked in the newspaper industry and as a freelance writer, and has been published in The New York Times, Time.com, FoxNews.com and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A former semi-professional poker player, he is writing a book documenting the poker scene at the 2016 World Series of Poker, a decade after the peak of the poker boom. Johnny is also a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors.

  • aaronbbrown

    Yes, this will bring jobs to Missouri, minimum-wage poverty expanding jobs that reduce Missourians to slaves in our own state. We can be like all those people who have moved to Texas, All breathing polluted air, drink contaminated water, raising sick children with lousy healthcare, and having no recourse in the courts when employers treat them like disposable trash to be discarded at the first opportunity. Lets all line up for that race to the bottom.

  • [email protected]

    I agree wholeheartedly with aaronbbrown, this would only be the first step into making us competitive with China! Maybe we should also abolish the mininmum wage act, and lower the legal working age to 10 also. Missouri workers it’s crunch time, look at your paystub, can you afford to work for less??? When the lawmakers say “More competitive” it simply means we will agree to work for less, and less.

  • Don

    Since I have been in Southwest MO. I have had seen probably 50 or more Company’s leave because of Union and senior workers greed. One company I worked for went to OK in which I went and worked for a few years at a higher rate I was making here. Unions and their members in which I’m sure the two that have already posted are and the Demarcates that they spend Millions on every years to make sure the Tax payer funded Public Unions get tgeir cut always say everybody is going to be working for Min. wage, what the real facts are is every State with the exception of ILL. that border MO. is none Union, has lower unemployment rate by better than 2% and pay better wages than MO. The facts are we can either have a few Union jobs making 50.00 a hour as the Auto workers do or we can have Millions of jobs making 20.00 dollars plus per hour. There is Company’s from all these Unionized States like CA.NY,ILL, MO. moving by the thousands to TEX,Tenn,FL,OK,SC and twenty other Non Union States. I got one kid living in West Texas that makes 15.00 a hour more than he made here doing the same job and don’t pay State income tax.