Politics

Missouri Becomes The 28th Right-To-Work State

Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens signed a bill Monday that allows workers to avoid paying union dues at union shops, making Missouri the 28th right-to-work state.

The passage of the legislation is considered a major victory to Missouri Republicans and business groups who have long sought right-to-work legislation in the “Show-Me State.”

“This sends a really strong signal to the rest of the country that Missouri is open for business,” Greitens said during the bill signing Monday. The signature comes three weeks after the bill passed through the Missouri House 100-59. (RELATED: Missouri Legislature Passes Right To Work Bill)

“With today’s passage of the deceptive right to work bill, Missouri is on a path that is dangerous to the well-being of working families and our neighborhoods as a whole,” Missouri AFL-CIO president Mike Louis said last week.

As recent as one year ago, Missouri Republicans were “doubtful” about passing right-to-work legislation. Former Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a right-to-work bill in June 2015.

No state can compel workers to join a union, but in states without right-to-work protections, non-union employees can be compelled to pay union dues, regardless of their status as a non-union member.

The 1947 Taft-Hartley Act granted employees the right to refrain from joining a union, and effectively gave states the go-ahead to pass right-to-work laws. The Act explicitly said that employees had the right to express their opposition to unions in the workplace, something that was not clear under previous law.

Missouri is now the 28th right-to-work state, joining Kentucky as the newest entrants into a movement that has swept across the industrial Midwest. (RELATED: Kentucky Passes Right To Work Legislation)

Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin have all passed right-to-work bills since 2012. Proponents of right-to-work argue that the policy helps create jobs and provides employees with a choice as to whether they want to pay into a union that they may not align themselves with. Opponents claim that the policy of allowing workers to choose whether or not to pay union dues undermines the ability of employees to negotiate fairly with management.

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