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Right-to-Work-for-Less Fails in Mo.


April 11, 2014

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Union members rallied in Jefferson City, Mo., March 26 against right-to-work-for-less legislation.

Efforts to make Missouri the 25th right-to-work-for-less state came up short April 9, with anti-worker state legislators failing to garner enough votes to send their bill to the state Senate.


“Huge win for working families,” House Minority Leader (and St. Louis Local 1 member) Jacob Hummel tweeted Wednesday. “They couldn't get a constitutional majority to move right-to-work out of the House!”

Bill proponents were trying to put right-to-work on a statewide ballot later this year. They received backing from Washington, D.C. – based right-wing organizations like Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and the Koch brothers-funded FreedomWorks, which organized a lobbying campaign in support of the legislation.

Hummel was quoted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as saying during the floor debate that out-of-state interests were trying to put profits and corporate executives ahead of the interests of workers in Missouri.

While unable to match the bank accounts of the anti-labor lobbyists, the state’s labor movement organized a strong grassroots campaign to defeat right-to-work, staging a major demonstration in Jefferson City March 26.

“We as union members need to do our best to educate ourselves as voters and inform family members, friends, neighbors, etc. exactly what the bottom line of right-to-work is,” Local 257 member Mike Winemiller posted on the IBEW Facebook page after the event. “Without the bargaining power of our unions, job security will dwindle.”

Nineteen members of the House Republican caucus broke with their party over the bill, including GOP Rep. Anne Zerr.

“As a Republican and pro-business, you might think that I would be anti-labor, but you know what? Working with labor is good business,” she told attendees at the March 26 rally.

As we wrote Feb. 6, study after study shows that right-to-work legislation results in lower wages and weaker benefits. It also hurts overall living standards.

In a Jan. 24 article titled ‘The States of Our Union … Are Not All Strong,’ reporter Margaret Slattery analyzes data compiled from government research to create a ranking of which states fare better for the overall health of their citizens – and which ones are failing residents. Northeastern states like New Hampshire – which ranked highest – trended toward the top, while Southern states ranked consistently near the bottom. States with better quality of life tend to have a higher union density, while those near the bottom of the list are almost all right-to-work states, where union density is critically lower.

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