By TIM ROWDEN
Missouri workers – ALL Missouri workers – won Tuesday, Aug. 7, soundly defeating Missouri’s phony, destructive, anti-worker “right-to-work” law. With 100 percent of the precincts counted, Prop A lost 67 percent to 33 percent, making Missouri the first state where voters have defeated “right-to-work” at the ballot box – not once, but TWICE! – in 1978 and now in 2018.
“We did it!” Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO said in an energetic victory speech at Sheet Metal Workers’ Grand Hall in St. Louis. “Together we have made history two times in 40 years!
“This is a tremendous victory,” Louis said. “This is what we’ve worked so hard for. This is a victory for the people of the middle class. It’s time to stop counting people who work as being middle class when the CEO makes 361 times more than we do.
“Forty years ago, they tried to force this down our throats, and we said, ‘No,’” Louis said. “Today we’re saying, ‘Not then, not now, not ever!’
“Today we sent a clear message to any politician, any CEO any dark money donor who wants to silence our voices, the voices of the people, the voices of who should be middle class America, we’ll stand together and we’re going to tell them ‘Hell no!’
The eyes of the Labor Movement have been Missouri since last year when volunteers collected more than 310,000 signatures to place Missouri’s so-called ‘right-to-work’ legislation on the ballot for voters to decide. This summer, volunteers knocked on over 8,000 doors, made more than a million phone calls, put up more than 100,000 yard signs, and talked with family, friends and neighbors to educate them about the true destructive nature of “right-to-work.”
Faced with millions of dollars in “dark money” from CEOs, billionaires and out-of-state business groups trying to convince voters to weaken workers’ right to collectively bargain fair wages and benefits, Missouri workers proved that boots on the ground are more powerful that deep-pocketed lies.
‘MIDDLE CLASS AMERICA IS WATING’
“Middle class America is waiting to be rebuilt and it begins tonight, right here in Missouri,” Louis said. “This is the beginning, and this message is going out all over the United States. If you get hit by these politicians and these CEOs and this dark money, you stick together. When we stick together – look at Missouri – we can accomplish anything!
“We look forward to closing this ugly chapter in politics in Missouri,” Louis said. “We’re prepared to work together with the leadership in Jefferson City, but we want policies that will benefit all Missourians, like investments in infrastructure, workforce development and the creation of creation of good paying jobs, not just jobs”
NOW ON TO NOVEMBER
While the victory was sweet, Louis warned that it will be incomplete unless working Missourians continue to make their voices heard in November.
“We have to continue to make our voices heard,” Louis said. “It is important that we remember in November. We must remember to vote against politicians who supported Proposition A and vote for candidates who will fight for working people.
“Together we made history. Together, we must continue to fight for working families!”