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In the August 2018 primary election Missouri showed its support for workers’ rights, voting almost 2-to-1 against Proposition A which would have made Missouri a “right-to-work” state.
So-called “right-to-work” legislation claims to promote workers’ rights by allowing private sector workers to avoid paying union dues.
In actuality, right-to-work laws weaken workers’ rights by limiting worker protection and reducing union bargaining power.
Supporters and opponents of Proposition A spent millions trying to influence voters in the Missouri election.
After more than $15 million in campaign spending and significant input from national labor unions, including the International Brotherhood of Electricians and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Missouri voters defeated Proposition A, the legislation that proposed making Missouri a right-to-work state.
The vote gave Missouri voters a chance to speak out on the anti-worker “right-to-work” law.
Missouri voters rejected Proposition A by a margin of more than 2-to-1, with 67.5% of voters against the measure and 32.5 percent of voters in favor of it.
Proposition A was defeated in both rural and urban areas, and voting returns showed just 14 of Missouri’s 114 counties were in favor of the law.
If Proposition A had passed, private sector employees would no longer have to join a union or pay a fee if their workplace was unionized.
Supporters of Proposition A wanted Missouri to join 27 other states in allowing private sector workers to avoid paying union dues.
Those in favor of right-to-work legislation claim that it benefits workers by increasing job growth and providing higher wages.
They also claim that not having “right-to-work” legislation on the books has negatively affected the Missouri business climate by causing businesses to choose not to relocate to Missouri.
Union supporters counter that other factors were at play in states where right-to-work legislation improved the business climate.
Unions view right-to-work legislation as an attack on the middle class and an attempt to reduce the power of collective bargaining organizations that seek to protect workers’ rights and support high wages for union employees.
Union membership has been declining in recent decades, in spite of the protection and collective bargaining power they provide for their members.
The Missouri election was closely watched by pro-business groups as well as their pro-union opponents after the U.S. Supreme Court decided in June that public sector workers could not be forced to pay union dues.
Former-Governor of Missouri Eric Greitens, who took office in January 2017, worked hard to pass the anti-union measure. Lawmakers signed Proposition A into law a month into Greitens’s first term, but labor unions were able to collect more than 310,000 signatures, which forced the issue to a vote.
If it passed, Proposition A would have changed Missouri law so that no one would be required to pay union dues as a condition of employment. The current law permits collective bargaining agreements that require employees to pay dues to cover the union’s costs, regardless of whether the worker is a union member.
The Missouri election was viewed as a battleground for right to work legislation, with unions and pro-business groups spending millions to persuade Missouri voters. While voter turnout was low due to it being a midterm election in a non-presidential year, the anti-union measure was defeated soundly. Political commentators have surmised that this illustrates a disconnect between what Republicans on the ground want and what party leaders tell voters they should want.
In voting against Proposition A, Missouri voters rejected a top Republican priority and supported the rights of the working class.
If you believe your right to organize was violated, the employment lawyers at Brady & Associates can help. Contact us today at (913) 270-1682 or complete our online contact form.