Missouri enacted a right to work law in August 2017 that, according to the National Right to Work Foundation, “guarantees that no person can be compelled, as a condition of employment, to join or not to join, nor to pay dues to a labor union.” Amidst divided governments, the passage of the law seemed unlikely until the election of Republican Gov. Eric Greitens and corresponding Republican Congress in November 2016. The law, previously passed in the midwestern states of Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota, ends mandatory union membership and/or union payment as conditions of employment.
Shortly after the law passed, opposers suspended it by gathering enough signatures to require a veto referendum, known as Proposition A or the Right to Work Referendum.
Unions generally oppose the law and advocate its repeal arguing that it would hurt labor organizations and lead to lower wages. We Are Missouri, the leading campaign opposing Missouri’s right to work law, states, “Right to Work is WRONG for Missouri. It is an unnecessary, unfair government overreach into the workplace that distracts from the real issues like creating jobs and improving schools.”
Supporters believe it increases the individual workers’ liberty. Missourians for Worker Freedom, the leading supporting campaign, states “Missouri’s Right to Work law not only empowers the individual worker. It also creates jobs, grows wages, and attracts business to the state.”
As of late February, Political Action Committees (PACs) opposing the right to work law have raised $3.26 million while PACs advocating for the law have raised $2.17 million.
As the voting date approaches, both sides have intensified their efforts. Opposers in particular have garnered mass support among working class individuals, holding events such as the recent pro-union rally on the steps of St. Louis’ Old Courthouse Feb. 24. Support for the law has been extracted mainly from corporate donors.
The referendum will appear on the ballot Nov. 6, 2018. A majority “yes” vote will uphold the right to work law, while a majority “no” vote would overturn it.
Photo courtesy of UMKC.