Mo. GOP Lawmakers Admit Right-to-Work
Working family advocates rallied in Jefferson City, Mo., last March to protest pending right-to-work legislation in the statehouse. The measure failed on April 9.
The most recent effort happened last spring, when anti-worker lawmakers fought unsuccessfully to get a bill through the statehouse. Nearly 20 GOP lawmakers broke rank with the bill’s supporters, halting the proposed legislation.
Some lawmakers in the Show-Me State are now ready for another round. Rep. Bill Lant, a Republican, filed this month to put right-to-work on the docket for the 2015 legislative session.
But in a recent interview with Missouri Digital News, Lant admitted what working family advocates have long said: right-to-work lowers wages.
“In the states where right-to-work was passed recently, the hourly rates may have dropped two to three dollars an hour, but the amount of days per year that the workers actually got to put in on the job increased dramatically,” he said:
A Facebook group called Stop Right to Work (for less) in Missouri has started an email campaign to Lant urging constituents to “ask him what’s so great about working longer hours for less pay.”
As Progress Missouri reports, Lant’s comment isn’t without precedent. Last legislative session, state Sen. Ed Emery told a roomful of supporters:
One of the things that will be advocated by the unions is – look at all these right to work states, average wages all go down. Sure they go down, you have a whole lot more people working in those states and they aren't necessarily working for $25 an hour. They couldn't get a job for $25 an hour, but they can at $20 because they're worth $20, or they're worth $17 or they're worth $12.
Emery has served both as state chairman and co-chair of the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC creates a conduit between large corporations and anti-union state legislators to draft so-called “model legislation” to benefit company interests, often at the expense of employees.
The bill that Lant filed this month is a word-for-word copy of a model bill written by ALEC, Progress Missouri reported.
IBEW activists will continue to inform their members on what right-to-work would mean for union families in the state, said Tim Green, who directs legislative and government affairs for the IBEW and the National Electrical Contractors Association across Missouri.
“Right-to-work does nothing to benefit the state’s economy,” said Green, who served eight years in the state Senate. “If you look at what businesses are asking for, right-to-work isn’t in the top priority of economic development. We’re going to keep educating on how labor and management can work together – that’s what we’ve always pushed and will continue to push.”