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The Missouri Right-To-Work Fight Has Created Some Unlikely Allies

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Missouri unions are preparing to endorse a handful of Republicans who broke with party lines to stop a bill which would have outlawed forced union dues, according to reports Tuesday.

Labor unions were some of the most adamantly opposed to the Republican bill. The policy, known as right-to-work, would have outlawed mandatory union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Now the state chapter of the AFL-CIO is prepared to endorse the Republicans who helped defeat the bill by opposing their own party.

“We are starting to become blind to whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican,” Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s all about who is labor-friendly and who cares about the workers.”

The Republican bill was defeated Sept. 16 during a veto override vote. While supporters were able to get it passed, it was rejected not long after in June by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. Without the handful of Republicans the veto override vote was short just 13 votes of the 109 needed.

“We will put boots on the ground to make sure these people win their races,” Jefferson County Labor Club President Bart Velasco told the Post-Dispatch. “They endured an awful lot of heat in their party.”

The Republicans who helped defeat the bill have since attended four union sponsored fundraising receptions. Those same Republicans, however, were already raking in union cash way before they decided to vote against the right-to-work measure. Most Republican lawmakers who opposed the bill received $186,365 last year from union-related campaign contributions, according to the Post-Dispatch. Unions also contributed about $73,000 to those Republicans in both 2012 and 2013.

Critics of the policy often claim unions are necessary for workplace fairness, better wages and benefits. Supporters, though, assert it simply provides workers a choice while promoting a business friendly environment. The bill wouldn’t have stopped workers from joining a union if they wanted to.

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