Jefferson City – Missouri’s corporate-owned legislators have moved the date that voters will decide whether to make Missouri a so-called “right-to-work” (RTW) state to the Aug. 7 primary.
Last summer, 310,567 Missourians signed a petition to place Proposition A (RTW) on the Nov. 6 election ballot for voters to decide, but Missouri’s corporate legislators, backed by billionaires, out-of-state CEOs and dark-money special interest groups moved the date to August, when they know historically fewer voters turn out to the polls.
On a 96-47 vote, the Republican-controlled House moved the date of the vote to the lower-turnout election, arguing that businesses are waiting for the wage-killing legislation to become law before moving to Missouri.
In other words, in addition to misleading voters about the true intent and impact of Prop. A (RTW), they are trying to influence the vote.
"Supporters of Proposition A are desperately trying to confuse Missouri voters about what it is and what it would do to the state," said Mike Louis president of the Missouri AFL-CIO. "Proposition A is nothing more than a ploy to attack workers' rights and drive down wages. Our folks are energized to get out there and make sure we are at the ballot box in August to vote no on Proposition A."
(Look for expanded coverage in the May 24 print edition.)
PROP. A GOAL: LOWER MISSOURI WAGES
We Are Missouri, the coalition of workers’ groups organized to fight RTW, issued the following statement on the date change:
“Through all the efforts to distract and deceive Missouri families about ‘right-to-work,’ it’s been crystal clear that those pushing Proposition A have one ultimate goal: lowering Missouri wages. Anyone who has been paying attention to what has been going on in Jefferson City knows the level of dishonesty and dysfunction and this is no different. Proposition A is wrong for Missouri.
“Now that politicians have moved Proposition A to the August ballot, we look forward to educating Missouri voters about how Proposition A fails to create jobs and forces workers to accept lower pay. Proposition A broadens the gap between working families and the wealthy CEOs at the very time when we need to be giving workers and families greater economic opportunities. We are confident that come Aug. 7, Missourians will protect their pay by voting no on Proposition A.”
So-called RTW attacks the freedom of working people to join together to negotiate a fair return on their work by banning 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 costs of bargaining and representation.
The goal is to financially starve unions – which under federal law must represent all workers covered by the contract whether they are dues-paying members or not – and thus limit the union’s ability to negotiate for and represent workers.
When Gov. Eric Greitens took office last year, the legislature rushed to pass RTW and get it on his desk as its first order of business.
TRYING TO SILENCE VOTERS
This is not the first time voters have sought to repeal a state law, but it is the first time the Legislature has interfered in the process. There have been 26 similar referendum votes on whether to repeal state law since 1914, but this marks the first time a vote was moved from the general election to the primary election.
Rep. Bruce Franks (D-St. Louis) said, “This is an attempt to defeat the will of the people.”
Rep. Karla May (D-St. Louis) dismissed backers’ claims that the law would create jobs or raise wages.
“There is no evidence of that,” May said. “This is not good for Missouri.”
House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty (D-Kansas City) said the change in election date meant fewer people will weigh in on the issue.
But, she said, “Either way, Proposition A will be defeated.”
A separate measure calling for a vote to enshrine “right-to-work” in the Missouri Constitution was pending in the Senate. If approved, as expected, that would mean voters will have to defeat “right-to-work” twice, in August and November, to prevent it from becoming law.
Deadline to register for Aug. 7 election is July 11
If you want to protect your job and your paycheck by voting NO on Prop. A on Aug. 7, you must be registered to vote. The deadline to register to vote in the Aug. 7 election is July 11.
If you’re not registered, not sure if you are registered, you can register or re-register online at sos.mo.gov/elections/goVoteMissouri/register. It won’t hurt to re-register if you’re not sure. State law allows you to register to vote as often as you like.
REGISTER AT YOUR COUNTY
CITY HALL OR LIBRARY
You can also register at your county election authority or election board. To find your election board’s address go to sos.mo.gov/elections/goVoteMissouri/localelectionauthority.
In St. Louis County, the board has moved to the former Northwest Plaza shopping center at Lindbergh and St. Charles Rock Road. It is located on the south side of the building. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. St. Louis County registration forms can also be downloaded at stlouisco.com/elections.
You can also register at your local city hall or library.
MOVED? NAME CHANGE?
If you have moved since the last time you voted, or have had a name change since the last election, you must resubmit the Missouri Voter Registration Application (available at sos.mo.gov/votemissouri/request) to the office of your new election authority.
To find the office location, go to sos.mo.gov/elections/goVoteMissouri/localelectionauthority.