By TIM ROWDEN
The battle over “right-to-work” is continuing in Missouri, as both sides look to sway voters on the deceptive anti-union, anti-worker law that looks primed for the 2018 ballot.
Last month, the We Are Missouri coalition of union members, labor allies and working family activists delivered 310,567 signatures of registered voters – nearly three times the number needed – to the Secretary of State’s office to trigger a statewide vote on the deceptive and destructive law and let voters, not bought-and-paid-for politicians and their dark money special interests, decide what is right for working Missourians. The Secretary of State’s office is working with local election authorities to validate the signatures.
Right on cue, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the Koch Brothers’-funded pro- “right-to-work” advocacy group, has come out with another round of mailers promoting more lies about the anti-union law. AFP is using digital video, display ads, direct mail, events, door-to-door canvassing, and phone banking to confuse Missourians and try to sway the vote on the anti-worker law.
BREAKING DOWN THE LIES
The new mailer states: “Freedom works,” which sounds good but says nothing of what “right-to-work” actually does – guts unions and virtually eliminates their negotiating power by starving them of dues money or “fair share” fees for representing ALL EMPLOYEES in a negotiating union, whether they are dues paying members or not. That’s federal law, and the proponents of “right-to-work” know it.
Try joining the Chamber of Commerce without paying dues. Do you think they’d allow it? Would they bother to represent you? That’s what proponents of “right-to-work” say unions must do.
Flip the latest flyer over and it says: “My Job, My Paycheck, My Freedom to Choose.”
Again, this sounds good, but look at the facts:
• “My Job” – No one is forced to work in a union shop. If you don’t want to be represented by a union, you don’t have to. Federal law – not RTW – prevents anyone from being required to join a union.
• “My Paycheck” – No one working in a union represented shop is forced to pay union dues, only a fair share fee to cover the union’s cost of bargaining and representation.
• “My Freedom to Choose” – Again, federal law. No one is forced to join a union. The freedom to choose this refers to is the FREEDOM TO FREELOAD, enjoying the pay, benefits and protections of a union-negotiated contract without spending one red cent to support the union.
“We heard from workers from every corner in the state when we collected 310,567 signatures to put the repeal of “right-to-work” on the ballot,” said Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO.
“On Labor Day, these workers gathered at parades, festivals, and picnics throughout the state to celebrate what Organized Labor has fought to achieve. It is clear these working people are ready to FIGHT to keep these rights.”
You can join the fight by contributing to We Are Missouri’s “$8 for 8” campaign, which plays off the unprecedented feat of union members and working family allies gathering over 310,567 petition signatures in ALL EIGHT of Missouri’s Congressional Districts and all 114 counties to put so-called “right-to-work” on the November 2018 ballot for voters to decide.
Go to wearemo.org and click on the red “Donate” button in the upper right hand corner to help defend Missouri workers from the phony “right-to-work (for less)” and the dark money backers like AFP working to make it state law.
If you’d rather write a check, the mailing address is: We Are Missouri, 227 Jefferson St., Jefferson City, MO 65101.