Frame and Kinder take the debate to Westminster College
Fulton – Gearing up for Missouri House vote on right-to-work (RTW), Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and Rep. Michael Frame (D-Eureka), both visited Westminster College, a few days apart, to make their cases for and against the deceptive measure.
Kinder spoke a few days before Frame, telling students that states that adopted RTW were more attractive to businesses, and that union contracts were keeping Missourians from finding good work.
His false and skewed argument completely ignored that:
• Average household income is $4,613 lower in RTW states.
• Overall employment is higher in worker friendly states (82 million jobs) as compared RTW states (53 million jobs.)
• RTW states have more low wage jobs than worker friendly states. Of the 20 states with the most low-paying jobs, 14 (70 percent) are RTW states, while only 6 (30 percent) are worker friendly states.
• RTW is not a deciding factor in where businesses locate.
According to the 2012 Area Development magazine corporate survey, of the top site selection factors for business the availability of skilled labor ranked first and transportation structure ranked second. RTW did not even rank in the top 10.
Frame, a member of the House Workforce Development Committee with a long labor history as a former member of Laborers Local 110, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562 and SEIU Local 1, told the students that RTW lowers wages and household incomes.
“Right-to-work lowers wages in every state that we see it in,” Frame said. “That’s not my opinion; that is a fact.”
RTW injects state government into the collective bargaining process by allowing workers at companies with union-negotiated contracts to “opt out” of paying union dues or “fair share” fees, even though unions are required by federal law to represent them and provide them will all the union’s services. With fewer financial resources and ongoing services to provide, the unions become weaker and less capable of representing their members.
“It’s a union-busting attempt done to bring down wages,” Frame said. “Union workers on average make more than non-union. This tells me collective bargaining works better than individual bargaining. So why is our government taking away that collective tool?”
CONTROVERSIAL AND DIVISIVE
RTW is one of the most controversial and divisive issues currently facing the Missouri legislature.
The Missouri House approved a RTW measure last week (HB1770), but not by the 82-vote majority needed to move it to the Senate. Another roll call vote is expected this week.
Twenty-four states have adopted RTW laws.
Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon has repeatedly said he will veto any RTW measure, but the bill currently under consideration would bypass the Governor’s veto by placing the measure on the ballot.
Missouri voters last considered RTW in 1978, soundly defeating the measure.
House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) has made passing RTW/Freedom to Work/Workplace Freedom in Missouri a priority in this legislative session.