National Labor leaders took note of Missouri’s Prop A vote

CELEBRATING VICTORY, Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis (center), with UFCW Local 655 President David Cook (right) and IBEW Local 1 Business Manager Frank Jacobs (left) declare victory over Prop A (RTW) in Missouri. – Post-Dispatch photo by Sid Hastings

Missouri’s courageous fight against and stunning defeat of Proposition A (RTW) drew the attention of national Labor leaders and economic analysts.



Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), said, “By rejecting ‘right-to-work’s’ Proposition A by a 2-to-1 margin, Missouri voters sent a clear and strong message that right-to-work is bad not just for the workers and families in Missouri, but also that Organized Labor and our building trades unions will not be silenced.

“We’ve seen misguided legislatures in some states claiming false mandates to push through backroom deal initiatives – against the will of voters – that give workers less take home pay, less benefits, and poorer working conditions,” McGarvey said. “But as Missouri shows us, when given to the voters, these backroom deal proposals are voted down resoundingly. NABTU is tremendously grateful to our brothers and sisters in Missouri for their tireless efforts to deliver this historic vote.”


CWA President Chris Shelton, president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), representing 700,000 telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, public service and manufacturing workers, said, “Working people in Missouri sent a clear message to the whole country: We won’t be fooled by so-called ‘right to work’ legislation and other efforts to prevent us from joining together to fight for good jobs, fair wages and strong communities.


“I am proud of the hundreds of CWA members and retirees in Missouri who spent countless hours knocking on doors, making phone calls and sending text messages to turn out the vote,” Shelton said. “We reached out to voters across the state with television advertising and direct mail.

“In addition to defeating Proposition A, we elected one of our own, Karla May, to the Missouri State Senate. Karla is an AT&T service representative who is an 18-year member of CWA Local 6300 and a dedicated St. Louis activist. Karla will be a strong voice for working people in Missouri.

“When we fight, we win,” Shelton said. “Working people are energized like never before. The ultra-wealthy and the elected officials who have helped rig the system in their favor are on notice. This November we will go to the polls to elect our allies, defeat our enemies and fight for our democracy.”


The Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), representing more than 103,000 employees and independent contractors in credit unions, hospitals and medical clinics, insurance, higher education, transportation, shipping, utilities, hotels, administrative offices members in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, issued a statement celebrating “the courageous people of Missouri who stood up to wealthy special interests by voting NO on Proposition A, defeating a coordinated corporate campaign to make Missouri the nation’s newest so-called ‘right-to-work’ state. If passed, the ballot measure would have decimated wages, benefits, and rights in Missouri’s workplaces — while failing to deliver on its proponents’ promises of more jobs, higher wages, and more freedom for workers.

“Though the fully-fledged corporate assault on working people’s rights marches onward, we applaud the everyday Missourians who turned out to vote against this disastrous policy, which threatened to reverse the gains in wages, benefits, and rights that were fought for and won by workers committed to fairer, safer and more equal workplaces.”

Professional organizations and guilds affiliated with OPEIU include registered nurses, podiatrists, clinical social workers, teachers, Minor League Baseball umpires, and helicopter pilots.



“The people of Missouri spoke loud and clear, beating back the latest attack by big business on working people by rejecting a so-called ‘right-to-work’ law by a decisive margin,” said Heidi Shierholz, senior economist and director of policy for the Economic Policy Institute.

“The weight of the evidence shows that RTW would have been a terrible choice for Missouri. We know from the experiences of 27 states, including many of Missouri’s neighbors, that RTW laws don’t spur investment or create jobs. They do, however, undercut unions, lower wages, and weaken workers’ bargaining power. In fact, that is the whole reason for the enormous corporate interest in RTW.

“This is the first major fight over RTW since the Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME in June which, overturning 40 years of precedent, barred state and local government unions from requiring workers who benefit from union representation to pay their fair share of that representation,” Shierholz said. “By rejecting Proposition A, Missourians have struck a much-needed blow for working people. To create a fairer, more prosperous, and sustainable Missouri, policymakers should be looking to policies that will strengthen — not gut — good jobs.”


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