Missouri is poised to become the 26th state to adopt Right to Work legislation after the Legislature this year passed a bill that finally makes our state competitive with six of our neighbors who already have this important economic development tool.
Unfortunately, Governor Jay Nixon has promised to veto the measure. With historic majorities in both chambers of the Legislature, it’s crucial that Republican leadership muster the votes needed to override Gov. Nixon’s veto.
Right to Work is a common-sense idea that has now been adopted by a majority of states. It specifies that no worker can be forced to join a union, pay dues, pay a union fee, or make a donation in lieu of dues to get or keep a job. Under Right to Work, workers still have the option to join a union and pay dues, but they can’t be forced to do so.
Without a Right to Work law, the deck is stacked in favor of protecting union bureaucracy rather than individual workers. Unions need hold only one election, which then gives them monopoly representation status for years on end. This allows them to negotiate contracts that require all workers – even those who come to work for the company long after the union certification election – to pay a fee to the union or lose their jobs.
This is unfair to workers who had no voice in the union election and to those who oppose the decisions imposed on all workers by the union leadership. It also stymies job growth.
From 2003-2008, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, jobs in Right to Work states grew 2.5 times faster than in forced-union states. Economic development officials consistently cite the lack of Right to Work laws as a key factor in where manufacturers choose to operate.
By giving workers the freedom to choose whether or not to join a union, Right to Work empowers workers to hold unions accountable and ensure they are serving their interests. If a union acts in workers’ best interests, those workers will join and pay dues. But if the union ignores their concerns, workers in Right to Work states can send a message by leaving the union and cutting off funding.
Right to Work is, at its core, about promoting freedom, fairness, and accountability. These values are fundamental to our nation, and they are values Missouri’s Legislature has rightfully embraced by sending a Right to Work bill to the governor. With six of the eight states bordering Missouri already affording their workers the protection of a Right to Work law, it is crucial that the Missouri Legislature override his expected veto.