Missouri GOP Resurrects Right-to-Work-for-Less


December 6, 2013

Missouri Republicans are looking to start the New Year off on the wrong foot, with another legislative battle over right-to-work-for-less legislation.


State Rep. Donna Lichtenegger – with support from Speaker Tim Jones – pre-filled a right-to-work bill for the first day of the 2014 legislative session.

This is only latest attempt to pass the legislation, which has been blocked multiple times in the past by Gov. Jay Nixon.

“While it isn’t a surprise that extremist politicians would file a right to work bill on the first day of session, it is shameful that they would make this unnecessary and confusing bill their first priority for 2014,” said Secretary-Treasurer of the Missouri AFL-CIO Mike Louis.

While right-to-work states haven’t been successful in delivering on new job creation, wages in right-to-work states are 12 percent lower than those in non-right-to-work states. And six of the eight states that have the lowest wages are right-to-work.

 “It’s a corporate power grab,” said Local 702 member Bobby Dicken, which represents utility workers in Missouri and Illinois. “Studies have shown that right-to-work means less jobs, lower wages and more dangerous workplaces.”

This is only the latest effort by the American Legislative Exchange Council to ram through its anti-worker agenda in Jefferson City.

ALEC is a national network and think tank funded by some of the country’s largest corporations. It counts as members hundreds of state legislators, who pay token membership dues and in exchange are provided ready-to-introduce legislation on some of the most conservative, anti-worker issues in the country. Anti-union Associated Builders and Contractors is also allied with ALEC.

And ALEC can count on strong backers in the Show-Me State.

Progress Missouri has identified more than 60 legislators with ties to ALEC, filing more than 40 bills that directly echo ALEC models.

They write:

Corporations behind ALEC's closed doors hand state legislators the changes to the law that they desire that directly benefit their bottom line … Participating legislators, who are overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, bring ALEC proposals back to Missouri and other statehouses as their own ideas and important public policy innovations, without disclosing that corporations crafted and pre-voted on the bills alongside legislators in closed-door meetings at fancy resorts.

You can see here the similarities between Rep. Lichtenegger’s bill and ALEC’s draft right-to-work legislation.  

Recently disclosed internal documents – obtained by the Guardian newspaper – shows that ALEC is under increasing scrutiny to publically disclose its lobbying efforts, forcing the group to set up a sister organization to maintain its tax exempt status.

Click here to tell Missouri lawmakers to say no to right-to-work-for-less.

Photo used under a Creative Commons License from Flickr user Ray Cunningham