By STATE REP. DOUG BECK
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Before the Feb. 2 vote on Missouri’s “right-to-work” legislation, Senate Bill 19, State Representative Doug Beck (D-Affton), a 30-year member of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562 made an impassioned plea on the House floor to take the measure to a public vote, calling out by inference Joplin roofing magnate David Humphreys who spent $14 million during the campaign season electing legislators – and a governor – who support “right-to-work.” Here is the text of Beck’s speech.)
I have tried not to take this personally but, with 30 years as a member of Plumber’s & Pipefitter’s Local 562, it is hard.
It is hard to not take it personally when you get up each day and go to work so you can provide a better life for your family and then you come here to do what’s right for your constituents and their families and you see one billionaire funding the effort to take your livelihood away.
One billionaire funding the effort to reduce paychecks, healthcare, pensions and workers’ rights of every working class family in Missouri.
I know this is just the start and more legislation will follow to further hurt Missouri families. These are protections that have been fought for, for over 100 years and they will be swept away with one vote, simply because one billionaire wants it to happen.
All this talk about how “right-to-work” states are better for workers is complete nonsense. We are being told “right-to-work” will improve our state economically, yet this legislation has a zero fiscal note; but every conservative estimate I’ve seen shows “right-to-work” will cost our state at least $160 million in lost revenue due to lower wages.
Lower wages equal lower income taxes collected.
With lower wages, families will not be able to buy new homes and cars, take vacations, spend money on local restaurants and entertainment.
With lower wages, people will be forced to have to make hard choices between food and medicine.
And, after years of lower wages, many of these families will have turn to state assistance as their only option to survive; as we have seen in other “right-to-work” states. And, there is no state savings in that.
Middle class spending is the type of spending that creates economic stimulus, a larger tax base and more jobs. The middle class are the true job creators, not a billionaire.
The truth is, last year, Missouri outpaced every state that borders us in job growth. We had a rise in union membership when the rest of the nation saw a decline.
Could it be, this increase in union membership is what sparked the majority party to go full speed with their anti-worker agenda? Because, the facts are, we compete quite well as a state. Could we compete better? Absolutely! But, I don’t think we should do that with more burden on the backs of our workers. We should put investment into our infrastructure and workforce development; not cut paychecks and people’s dignity.
NOT ONE CALL IN FAVOR
Just like many of my colleagues, both Democrat and Republican alike; I have received numerous phone calls and emails from folks who are against “right-to-work,” but not one single one in favor. Of course, I don’t get a lot of calls from billionaires.
For these reasons and for the folks here today and for the folks at home but with us in spirit, I ask for a vote of the people. So with that, Mr. Speaker, I ask for five members to stand as I renew my motion