Missouri legislators debating whether to move vote on Prop. A (RTW) to August from November

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Jefferson City – Missouri lawmakers are debating whether to move the statewide public vote on Proposition A (“right-to-work”) from November to August.

Lawmakers have plenty of other issues to tackle as the legislative session winds to a close. They have until this Friday to pass a budget and must pass all other legislation by next Friday, May 18.

One of the bills that could pass out of both the House and Senate is a measure to move the public vote on Proposition A (RTW) from the Nov. 6 General Election to the August Primary, when historically fewer voters turn out at the polls.

Sen. Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan) is sponsoring the bill in the Senate

So-called RTW attacks the freedom of working people to join together to negotiate a fair return on their work by banning union represented businesses from negotiating labor contracts that assure workers will either pay dues or a smaller “fair share” fee to cover the union’s costs of bargaining and representation.

The goal is to financially starve unions – which under federal law must represent all workers covered by the contract whether they are dues-paying members or not – and thus limit the union’s ability to negotiate for and represent workers.

When Gov. Eric Greitens took office last year, the legislature rushed to pass RTW and get it on his desk as its first order of business.

We Are Missouri, the coalition of workers’ groups organized to fight RTW, collected more than 310,000 signatures on an initiative petition to put the issue on the ballot for Missouri voters to decide.

SEN. JAKE HUMMEL

“When 310,000 voters signed that petition, they signed it knowing it was going to go on the November ballot,” said Sen. Jake Hummel (D-St. Louis), a member of IBEW Local 1 and secretary-treasurer of the Missouri AFL-CIO. “I think at some point the people in this building need to decide if they're going to play politics with this issue, or they're going to let those 310,000 people who signed that petition vote on it when they thought they were going to vote on it.”

Supporters of RTW say they want the August vote to get it out of the way and give certainty to the state's businesses.

Opponents of RTW say the move is politically motivated to ensure fewer voters show up to decide the issue.

“I think if you really want to know what Missouri voters say, you have twice as many people that are going to vote in November,” Hummel said. “So why not have the vote in November and let a bigger population of Missourians vote on it?”

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