By TIM ROWDEN
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Workers put in an honest day’s work and expect an honest day’s pay. But they have to fight for it. They can’t do it alone, so they organize in unions to negotiate for fair wages, quality health care coverage, pensions and safe work conditions.
And CEO’s and corporate interests push back, often with the help lawmakers, hoping to break the unions so they can pay lower wages and eliminate workers’ benefits.
RTW IN ’78
Forty years ago, in 1978 those corporate interests placed a so-called “right-to-work” (RTW) amendment on the ballot in Missouri. Workers mobilized, knocked on doors, made phone calls and delivered the message that RTW is a RIPOFF. And they won! In a massive turnout, workers beat back the anti-worker amendment with more than 60 percent of the vote.
VOTE ‘NO’ ON PROP A
Today, that battle is over Prop A, another so-called RTW measure.
Just like 1978, Prop A is being backed by billionaire CEOs, out-of-state state business interests like the National Right to Work Foundation and the Koch Brothers’ American for Prosperity. It is supported by bought-and-paid-for politicians in the Missouri Legislature and was gleefully signed by now disgraced former Missouri governor Eric Greitens.
And workers organized, collecting 310,567 signatures – more than three times the number needed – to put Prop A on the ballot for voters not politicians, to decide.
Corporate-owned lawmakers in the Missouri Legislature tried to thwart the effort by moving the vote on Prop A to Aug. 7, when traditionally fewer voters turn out to the polls.
Workers all over the state responded by hitting the streets.
They have knocked on thousands of doors and made countless phone calls to talk to voters about the devastation Prop A will wreak on Missouri workers and the economy and urging them to Vote NO on Prop A.
Working families in so-called RTW states make an average of $8,740 LESS a year. That’s what Prop A will deliver to Missouri – lower wages, no benefits, unsafe work conditions. It’s WRONG for workers and WRONG for Missouri.
WE CAN WIN
We beat RTW in 1978, and we can beat Prop A today.
As AFLCIO President Richard Trumka said, speaking at the recent Missouri AFL-CIO’s 29th Biennial Convention in St. Louis:
“These corporate leeches, wrapped in the American flag and hijacking words like ‘freedom’ have brought the fight here to Missouri. They think they can send us running for the hills. I’ve got news for them: the only place we’re running is to the polls on Aug. 7 to defeat Prop A!
“The Missouri Labor Movement defines extraordinary,” Trumka said. “We defeated right to work in 1978. And we’re going to defeat it again in 2018!”