This afternoon, the notion to claim Missouri as a Right-To-Work act (HB 41) got one step closer to Governor Greiten’s office as it made its way through the House. In the past, the bill has failed to pass through with democratic governor, Jay Nixon; however, with Greitens now in office, Missouri citizens can expect to join nearly all of their adjoining states and become the 28th Right-To-Work state in America.
In 2015, Right-To-Work passed through both houses of legislature with the intention of making Missouri the 26th Right-To-Work state. The bill was vetoed by democratic governor Jay Nixon and republicans failed to override his veto with a two-thirds majority; therefore, the bill did not pass. In those two years, two more states have become Right-To-Work: West Virginia and Kentucky (who just became the 27th state as of January 7th of this year). That makes all of Missouri’s neighboring states, with the exception of Illinois, a right-to-work state.
After a series of public committee hearings the past two weeks, house representatives got to share their testimonies for and against the bill and democrats chose this time to attempt to dissuade republicans from voting in favor. Representative Karla May noted that she proudly pays dues and has been a union member and employee for many years.
“It’s like a child who asks why he has to do chores or take out the garbage,” May stated. “They are living under the umbrella of someone else’s wealth.”
The bill passed 100 to 5. The testimonies, however, managed to sway members from both parties given that fourteen republicans voted against the bill while one democrat, Courtney Curtis of Ferguson County, voted in favor. Curtis has been a known liberal supporter of the right-to-work act for minority issues and, in a 2015 debate, stated “it would give [minorities] better opportunities to participate in the workforce.”
Given that the bill passed the senate in 2015 and the upper house maintains a conservative majority, it is likely the bill will appear on republican Governor Greiten’s desk sometime in early February. House Representative Raider, the sponsor of the bill, was questioned in a press conference earlier this morning following the final vote, regarding the timeline of the bill and how it would affect current union laborer contracts. Raider claimed that the bill would go into play immediately, cutting labor dues following the next paycheck.
When Senator Dan Brown was questioned on whether the audacity of the timeline would provoke protestors even more, Brown suggested it was something that was inevitable but something they are not worried about. Brown has been a long-time supporter of the bill and, on his personal website, released a statement in favor as the bill begins to approach the senate. Brown claims that businesses have been discouraged from coming to Missouri given that it is not, currently, a right-to-work state, and has hurt our economy in response.
“We are the only state in our contiguous states but Illinois that’s not right to work,” says Brown. “We have to become the next right to work state to be competitively and to even on the list. This is a live-or-die situation in my mind.”
HB-41 regarding labor dues will likely be put to a public committee hearing sometime next week.