This week Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed a bill to make Missouri the 28th right to work state, which will allow workers to opt out of paying for union representation they receive through their union contract. Our union brothers and sisters were not going down without a fight; hundreds of union workers and other opponents packed the Statehouse to watch as they took the final vote.
Hours later, the Missouri AFL-CIO filed a petition to bring the measure to the ballot in 2018.
The goal of passing right to work in the state is clear: weaken unions and allow businesses to determine wages and conditions of employment, which, history shows, lower wages and make workplaces less safe. Employees in right to work states make approximately $6,000 per year less than their counterparts in “free bargaining” states.
Even though, our union brothers and sisters were unable to stop the bill from passing, pro-worker lawmakers criticized the governor for holding the bill signing at an abandoned warehouse. House Minority Leader Gail McCann states “Governor Greitens should have had the courage to sign this bill into law before employees at Boeing, Ford or one of the many other proud union shops in our state so he could explain to their faces exactly how Missouri will be better off when they have less power to negotiate for higher wages, decent benefits and safer working conditions.”
Missouri unions are expected to be circulating petitions for signatures between now and August deadline to make the deadline to get the measure placed on the ballot. For now, the law appears to be on hold.