Four simple requests will be key in repealing the destructive law
By SHERI GASSAWAY
Festus, MO – We Are Missouri, the campaign to repeal so-called “right-to-work” (for less), has four simple requests that will be key in defeating the measure at the ballot box: sign the Raise the Wage and CLEAN Missouri ballot initiative petitions, pledge to vote to repeal RTW and donate to the campaign.
Lori Giannini, a state field organizer with the Missouri AFL-CIO and UFCW Local 655 member, stopped by the Jefferson County Labor Club meeting in Festus recently to provide an update on the campaign. In August, Missouri workers submitted 310,567 signatures to place RTW on the November 2018 ballot to let voters – not politicians – decide.
But the fight has just begun, Giannini said. She outlined four ways union members can help defeat RTW in the 2018 election:
1. Sign the Raise the Wage ballot initiative to raise Missouri’s minimum wage. The initiative, which would appear on the November 2018 ballot, would raise the minimum wage to $8.60 in 2019 and 85 cents each year after that, capping at $12 in 2023. The wage would then continue to rise with the cost-of-living. Missouri’s current minimum wage is just $7.70 an hour.
More than 500,000, or one in five working Missourians, would see their wages rise by the time the raise is fully implemented, and nearly a million, or one in three working Missourians, would see a benefit from the ripple effects of working people having more money to spend in their communities.
“The minimum wage initiative would bring out 17 percent more voters to the election who will also vote to defeat RTW,” Giannini said. “Getting this initiative on the ballot will be extremely important.”
2. Sign the CLEAN Missouri ballot to make state government more transparent. This initiative would limit the ability for the wealthy to buy elections and hold legislators accountable when they fail to act in the public interest. Specifically, it would:
• Lower campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates.
• Eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly.
• Require that House and Senate members wait two years before becoming lobbyists.
• Require that legislative records be open to the public.
• Ensure that neither political party is given an unfair advantage when new maps are drawn after the next census, by asking a nonpartisan expert to draw fair legislative district maps, which would then be reviewed by a citizen commission. This would make Missouri one of the first states to mandate the use of a new statistical model for redistricting to diminish partisan gerrymandering.
3. Pledge to vote ‘No’ to repeal RTW in the 2018 election. Giannini passed out stacks pledge cards to those who attended the Jefferson County Labor Club meeting and asked them to sign the cards and to pass them out to union members, family and friends to sign as well.
“By signing the pledge cards, we won’t have to come to you again to ask for your support, and we can focus our efforts on other voters,” she said.
Giannini has been visiting Missouri labor clubs and union halls to pass out and collect the cards.
For more information on We Are Missouri and the fight to defeat RTW, visit wearemo.org.
4. Donate to We Are Missouri to help with education efforts. The campaign needs to get its message out to all Missourians why RTW is wrong for Missouri’s working families. You can donate to the “$18 for ’18” campaign to defeat RTW online by visiting wearemo.org and clicking the red “Donate” button at the top of the page.
“We’re going to need money to fight this,” Giannini said. “Other corporate-funded, anti-worker groups are spending millions to defeat us.”
Jefferson County Labor Club President Chuck DeMoulin urged members to get involved in the campaign and educate family, friends and neighbors about why RTW is wrong for Missouri’s working families.
“With union members representing only about eight percent of all workers, just voting to defat RTW is not going to cut it,” he said. “It’s up to us to educate others so they know what the truth is about the matter.”