Phony ‘right-to-work’ (for less) ballot wording rejected by judge

New anti-worker group wants to circulate petitions to get RTW into Missouri’s constitution, defying will of voters


MISSOURI VOTERS overwhelmingly defeated “right-to-work” (for less) by 67 percent in 2018. Proponents of the anti-worker, anti-union law are trying to sneak it through now as an amendment to the Missouri Constitution. – Labor Tribune file photo

An effort to put the phony so-called “right-to-work” (for less) issue into the Missouri Constitution in a future election received a setback in a court ruling last week.

A new anti-worker right-wing group from Washington, D.C, the Liberty Alliance, wants to come into Missouri to circulate an initiative petition to get enough voter signatures to put an RTW issue on a future ballot as an amendment to the Missouri Constitution. A Cole County judge rejected Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft proposed wording for that ballot as “insufficient” and instead crafted wording of his own.

The ruling came as a result of a lawsuit filed by the Missouri AFL-CIO, which sees this ruling as a “victory” of sorts.

“We have seen time and time again that politicians backed by greedy CEOs try to manipulate voters to vote for so-called right-to-work ballot initiatives,” said Missouri AFL-CIO President Jake Hummel. “Missouri voters resoundingly voted no on a ‘right-to-work’ ballot initiative (Proposition A) in 2018 and now they are trying to play games with proposed ballot language to trick voters again.”

This is the second time a judge has overruled the secretary of state’s prejudicial wording for a RTW ballot. In 2017 the Cole County court ruled against language initially proposed for a 2018 ballot which was roundly defeated by a 67 percent majority of Missourians.

Despite the fact that Missouri voters resoundingly rejected the phony RTW twice, in 1978 and 2018, by overwhelming majorities, this anti-worker group is determined to begin circulating petitions to get it on the ballot a third time, completely ignoring the will of Missouri voters, again.

“With the new wording written by the judge, we can probably expect to see paid petitioners on the streets after the holidays or early next year trying to collect signatures under the phony moniker of ‘allowing people to work’,” said Pat White, president, Greater St. Louis Labor Council.

“And even the new wording is a bit misleading as it never mentions the phony phrase that everyone knows is not true: ‘right-to-work’. The issue has nothing to do with a person’s right to a job,” White stressed.

(See rejected and new wording along with the 2018 ballot language which included the RTW phrase in box at the bottom of this story.)

“This is yet another instance where politicians are willing to go against the will of the people for their own personal gain – in this case again trying to drag workers down by weakening our unions, which is what this phony law does,’ said UFCW Local 655 President David Cook.

“That someone wants to bring it back yet again — it’s been rejected overwhelmingly twice at the ballot box — and this time to change the Missouri Constitution, shows their callousness they have for not respecting our vote. I hope everyone remembers this at the next election.”

“The fight against so-called ‘right-to-work’ continues every single day in Missouri,” stated Missouri AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Merri Berry. “This is a good win for workers but our fights at every level of government continue. We must continue to engage and inform Missouri voters about the devastating impacts of so-called ‘right-to-work’.”

As of right now, it will not be on the ballot in an upcoming election, said a statement from the Missouri AFL-CIO.

Three versions of the RTW ballot language

Here’s a comparison of the two versions of the phony “right-to-work (for less) ballot language:

Rejected language proposed by Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft:
Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to provide that every employee shall have the freedom to work without being forced to join or pay any fees to a union (labor organization) in order to gain or keep a job?

Language written by Cole County Judge Daniel Green that will appear on petitions to be circulated by a new anti-worker group seeking signatures to get it on a future ballot to be enshrined in the Missouri Constitution:
Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to provide that every employee shall have the freedom to work without being forced to pay any fees to a union or join a union as a condition of employment, such that no person shall be required as a condition of employment or continued employment to: (1) become, remain, or refrain from becoming a member of a labor organization: or (2) pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other similar charges however denominated of any kind or amount to a labor organization or third party in lieu thereof?

This is the ballot wording a Cole County judge re-wrote after rejecting the secretary of state’s first prejudicial draft for the 2018 vote on RTW, which was rejected by a 67 percent majority:
Do the people of the state of Missouri want to adopt Senate Bill 19 (“Right-to-Work”) as passed by the general assembly in 2017, which prohibits as a condition of employment the forced membership in a labor organization (union) or forced payments of dues in full or pro-rata (fair-share); make any activity which violates employees’ rights illegal and ineffective; allow legal remedies for anyone injured as a result of another person violating or threatening to violate employees’ rights; and which shall not apply to union agreements entered into before the effective date of Senate Bill 19?

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