RTW, cutting prevailing wage top Missouri’s pre-filed bills for 2016
By TIM ROWDEN
Jefferson City – As predicted, right-to-work and cutting prevailing wage were the top of the heap when pre-filing of bills for Missouri’s 2016 legislative session started this month.
“Once again, workers are under attack,” Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis said.
Two so-called ‘right-to-work’ bills (HB1407 and HB1462) were filed by Rep. Bill White (R-Joplin) and Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Springfield).
Right-to-work (RTW) is nothing more than a misleading name for union bashing.
“RTW states have lower wages on average, higher poverty rates, higher infant mortality rates, invest less in education, and have higher workplace fatalities,” Louis said.
Extremist groups, right-wing politicians and their corporate backers want to weaken the power of workers and their unions through RTW laws.
Their efforts are a partisan political ploy that undermines the basic rights of workers. By making unions weaker, these laws lower wages and living standards for all workers in the state. In fact, workers in states with these laws earn an average of $5,971 less a year than workers in other states.
Because of the higher wages, working families in states without RTW laws also benefit from healthier tax bases that improve their quality of life.
Missouri’s Republican leaders refuse to accept these facts, and insist RTW is needed to spur business development.
This, even as even as Missouri was recently ranked No. 1 in the nation in business creation – despite NOT being a right-to-work state.
See previous story: Take that RTW: Missouri leads the nation in business creation
Contrary to right-to-work proponents claims that the anti-worker, wage stifling law is needed to grow states’ economies, newly released census data shows that Missouri not only led the nation in business creation in 2013 — the other states weren’t even close.
Rep. White also filed a bill that would cut Missouri’s prevailing wage law (HB1406).
“Studies have shown that workers who are paid the prevailing wage are more productive – and higher productivity can lower construction costs without lowering wages,” Louis said.
Louis said prevailing wage laws benefit blue-collar workers and their communities by:
- Encouraging training
- Lowering the rate of injuries
- Promoting health care coverage
- Minimizing disruption to local labor markets
- Ensuring that minority and female workers receive prevailing wages
- Encouraging their participation in apprenticeship programs.
“These attacks on workers are simply wrong,” Louis said. “Missouri needs to invest our time and energy creating quality jobs for all Missourians.”