Missouri House passes Right to Work legislation to Senate
The Missouri House of Representatives Thursday gave preliminary approval to legislation that will allow Missouri workers the right to choose whether or not to join a union in their workplace. The vote was 91-64 with two voting “present” and five members absent. Click on the link to see how members voted. While sufficient to pass the bill, there are not enough votes to override a potential veto by Governor Jay Nixon.
Associated Industries of Missouri supports enacting a “right to work” statute. Supporters of HCS HB 116 & 569 say the legislation upholds workers’ rights on how to spend the money they make at a place of work. Supporters also say that current laws in the state that protect union workshops drive companies and jobs away from the state. AIM president Ray McCarty testified Right to Work is an economic development issue.
“Site selectors, consultants hired by companies that are actively looking for a place to locate their new plant or business, often have a list of minimum requirements and we are told that list often includes whether the state is a ‘right to work’ state or not,” said McCarty in testimony before a House Committee last week. “Enacting ‘right to work’ would help Missouri make the second round of evaluation when companies are making these decisions about where to create jobs,” he said.
“This upholds a workers’ right to join a union, join a competing union, or not join one at all,” said bill sponsor Representative Eric Burlison (R-Springfield). “It is essential in our workplaces that if we are going to uphold the freedoms of every hardworking Missouri taxpayer that goes to work, punches a time clock, and gives of their own time and energy…it’s our duty to uphold that person’s right.”
Yesterday, the House gave initial approval by voice vote to legislation sponsored by Rep. Courtney Curtis, D-Berkeley, that would bar construction unions and employers from requiring all employees to join a union and pay dues if a majority votes to organize. The bill contains the same provisions as the broader “right to work” bill, but would only apply to the construction industry. Rep. Curtis expressed frustration with the level of employment and treatment of minorities within labor unions, particularly in the construction trades, in his testimony before the House Committee and on the House floor. His sentiments were echoed by many independent minority contractors and backed up by facts provided by MOKAN executive director and former state representative Yaphett El-Amin showing the percentage of minorities participating in construction apprenticeship programs in St. Louis City and County were far less than the percentage of minority population.
Rep. Curtis’ HB 582 faces one more vote in the House before moving on to the State Senate.