Missouri House passes ‘right-to-work’ legislation

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Senate expected to take it up next week

“Right-to-work” passed quickly through the Missouri House this week and moved to the Senate, where it was expected to be debated next week.

The House passed the anti-worker legislation, sponsored by Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) in a 100-59 vote, with bipartisan opposition.

The combined legislation consists of Rehder's bill, HB 91, as well as House Bills 42, 131, 265 and 314.

After approval in the House on Thursday, the legislation moved on to the Missouri Senate, where it received its first reading.

Republican Gov. Eric Greitens has pledged to sign the measure into law if it also passes the Senate.

“Right-to-work” allows workers the right to work in union-represented shops and receive union-negotiated benefits without paying dues or fair-share fees to the representing body.

Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis issued a statement in reaction to the vote.

"The government is one step closer to overreaching into the private contract negotiations between businesses and their employees, and each of their chosen representatives – the businesses lawyers and the employees’ elected unions, through deceptive ‘right-to-work' regulations that are wrong for Missourians,” Louis said. “This is part of a larger out-of-state special interest led by out-of-touch CEO’s who put their own inflated salaries and extreme profits over the basic needs of the people that make their businesses function.”

The Republican-dominated legislature has passed “right-to-work” legislation numerous times in recent years, only to have it vetoed by former Democratic Governor Jay Nixon.  With GOP Gov. Greitens now in office, the party is poised to make Missouri the 28th “right-to-work” state.

Representative Doug Beck (D-Affton), a member of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562, tried unsuccessfully to add an amendment to the bill requiring a public vote.

“It is my sincere belief that a bill of this magnitude should be decided by a vote of the people, not by a small assembly with a predisposition for the issue.  And, as we heard witness testimony in committee, a large faction of Missouri citizens agree,” Beck said.

(Read more in the Jan. 26 issue of the Labor Tribune print edition.)

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