By TIM ROWDEN
Jefferson City – Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has certified the petitions placing repeal of the so-called “right-to-work” before voters with 250,327 signatures certified as valid in all eight of Missouri’s congressional districts – a first for an initiative petition in the state.
A total of 80.6 percent of the original 310,567 signatures were certified as valid, thanks to the careful work of working Missourians who volunteered their time going door-to-door, talking to voters at summer festivals and outside businesses and, in one instance, wading through the water on the Black River to talk to summer float trip enthusiasts as they drifted down the river.
Under the language of the petition, the measure is set to appear on the Nov. 6, 2018 ballot, but the Republican-led General Assembly could change that, placing the measure on the August ballot, depending on the political calculations of the Legislature.
A TRIBUTE TO WORKING PEOPLE
“I think it’s an absolute tribute to what working people can accomplish when they stick together and all fight for what is rightfully theirs, which is the right to choose what the rules are in their workplace,” said Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO.
“We look forward to carrying this fight forward to ensure that come 2018 all of Missouri’s working families are equipped with the tools and the knowledge they need to reject this heinous piece of legislation from becoming law.”
GOAL TO WEAKEN UNIONS
So-called “right-to-work” (RTW) bans 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 cost of bargaining and representation. The idea is to financially starve unions, which, by federal law, must represent all workers in a union shop whether or not they are members, thereby limiting the union’s ability to negotiate and represent workers.
The legislation was set to take effect on Aug. 28 of this year, but was forestalled through the initiative petition process until voters have a chance to decide the measure next year.
EDUCATION EFFORT NOW BEGINS
Getting the measure on the ballot is only half the battle.
“Right-to-work” supporters, including the Koch Brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and other corporate-funded anti-worker groups, will be spending millions to confuse voters in an effort to make the anti-worker legislation law.
AFP already began littering Missouri mailboxes with flyers over the summer filled with blatant lies about the alleged benefits of the anti-worker legislation should it become law.
We Are Missouri, the coalition of workers’ groups behind the initiative petition campaign to turn back the legislation, has now shifted into education mode to get the message out to all Missourians that RTW is wrong for Missouri’s working families.
You can help by donating to the “$18 for ’18” campaign to defeat RTW. You can donate online by visiting wearemo.org and clicking the red “Donate” button at the top of the page.
Or, if you prefer, you can mail your donation to:
We Are Missouri
227 Jefferson St.
Jefferson City, MO 65101