Missouri politics: RTW, paycheck deception coming back in 2016

RTW AND PAYCHECK deception will both be back in Missouri’s 2016 legislative session, Merri Berry, political director of the Missouri AFL-CIO, told attendees at last week’s Faith Labor Alliance Breakfast at Maggie O’Brien’s restaurant in St. Louis. With all five GOP contenders for Missouri governor supporting RTW, Berry said it’s essential that Democrat Attorney General Chris Koster, who is running to succeed Nixon, get elected. – Labor Tribune photo



Right-to-work and paycheck deception will likely be top of the heap when Missouri legislators begin pre-filing legislation for the 2016 session on Dec. 1.

Merri Berry, political director for the Missouri AFL-CIO, said sponsors of both bills this session have already said they plan to re-file the measures for the next session. How far they are willing to take the measures –whether they will make it out of committee or be voted on in the House and Senate – remains to be seen.

“We know they’re going to file right-to-work no matter what,” Berry said. “We just don’t know how far it’s going to go.”

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Voters’ pick for governor next year likely will determine whether Missouri becomes the 26th right-to-work state or remains a holdout in the national push for the measure despite being mostly surrounded by states that have adopted it.

All five GOP contenders for Missouri governor support right-to-work. They include Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, former state House Speaker Catherine Hanaway,  businessman John Brunner, author and former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens and state Senator Bob Dixon of Springfield.

Kinder said in an email to supporters: “I remain committed to making Missouri the 26th right to work state in the nation.”

Three surrounding Midwestern states have enacted right to work in recent years with the support of Republican governors.

The difference in Missouri has been Democratic Governor Jay Nixon.

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Right-to-work was passed in the House and Senate for the first time this year, but was vetoed by Gov. Nixon, and that veto was sustained – with the support of worker-friendly Republicans during the September veto session.

Attorney General Chris Koster, the sole Democrat running to succeed Nixon in the 2016 election, is a vocal opponent of right-to-work and other anti-worker measures.

“We have to get Chris Koster elected,” Berry said. “We’re never going to be able to get enough votes in the House or Senate in the near term to keep it (right-to-work) from being introduced.”


Meanwhile, Representative Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) says she wants to introduce her paycheck deception bill again, and wants to see right-to-work debated as well.

“I am planning to re-file paycheck,” Rehder said.

Paycheck bills didn’t get much attention in the 2015 session. In 2013 a bill was sent to Governor Nixon and vetoed.

Missouri’s Republican Speaker of the House Todd Richardson said after right-to-work’s defeat in this year’s veto session: “There hasn’t been a state that’s enacted ‘right to work’ without a Republican governor.”


The Missouri AFL-CIO and area labor clubs are hosting a series of receptions to thank Republican representatives who stood with working families this session in sustaining Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of right-work legislation.

It’s important that these representatives know their efforts – against intense pressure from their party – were appreciated and that workers will stand with them on Election Day. Please plan on attending a reception near you.

Refreshments will be provided.

If you are unable to attend a reception near you, consider mailing a donation to Missouri AFL-CIO, 227 Jefferson St., Jefferson City, MO 65101. Make checks payable to representatives’ campaign committees (listed below).


  • Nov. 30 – Tri-County Labor Club will host a reception from 5:30-7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30 at 10 Droste Square, 506 Droste Road in St. Charles for representatives Kathie Conway (Citizens for Conway), Ron Hicks (Ron Hicks for State Representative), Bart Korman (Patrons to Elect Bart Korman), Chrissy Sommer (Citizens for Sommer) and Anne Zerr (Anne Zerr for Missouri).
  • Dec. 1 – Mineral Area Labor Club will host a reception from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 5073 Old Flat River Road in Leadington, MO, for representatives Linda Black (Citizens for Black 2016), Kevin Engler (Engler for Missouri) and Paul Fitzwater (Friends for Paul Fitzwater).
  • Dec. 3 – The Missouri AFL-CIO is hosting a reception from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, at the Arnold Recreation Center, 1695 Missouri State Road in Arnold, for representatives Elaine Gannon (Citizens for Elaine Gannon), Dave Hinson (Citizens for Hinson), John McCaherty (Citizens for McCaherty), Shane Roden (Citizens for Shane Roden) and Becky Ruth (Committee to Elect Becky Ruth).


RSVP Missouri AFL-CIO Political Director Merri Berry at 314-420-8095 or email politicaldirector@moaflcio.org.


As important as it is that these representatives know that Missouri’s working families stand behind them, they also need our support to win re-election.

If you are unable to attend a reception near you, please consider mailing a donation to Missouri AFL-CIO, 227 Jefferson St., Jefferson City, MO 65101. Please make checks payable to representatives’ campaign committees.

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