The state legislature is again being asked to consider voting to make Missouri the 25th “Right-To-Work” state. Union members who oppose “Right-To-Work” overcrowded the hearing room to listen in on testimony.
State Representative Eric Burlison proposed legislation that would prevent an employer from making someone join a union as a condition or continuation of employment.
“Freedom to work is necessary if Missouri wishes to regain a competitive standing with the states that surround us,” said Burlison. “This important legislation will encourage job growth, make unions responsive and stronger, and promote the individual freedom of workers across our great state.”
State Representative Stephen Webber suggested there are more pressing labor issues.
“If you believe that workplace safety is important and I believe it’s important, but we’ve been here for seven years and we can’t think of a single time this legislature has stepped up and tried to protect workers,” said Webber. “Who do you think is going to do that?”
Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder says all of Missouri’s bordering “Right-To-Work” states have higher increase in personal income than Missouri.
“Almost 70 percent of the business executives specify ‘Right-To-Work’ as a key factor, important, or very important in site selections,” said Kinder.
State Representative Bob Burns says Kinder is mixing apples and oranges.
“The reason that these companies are locating in these states that are ‘Right-To-Work’ is because they can pay less dollars,” said Burns.
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Chairman Brian Kelly spoke on behalf of his union. Kelly says this is his ninth year coming to the Capitol to testify against anti-labor legislation.
“How’s it fair for the government to intervene in these agreements? How’s it fair for them to deem these agreements illegal and even assess fines and penalties to the two parties when these contracts have been the norm for decades?” said Kelly. “This is government over-reach and I believe that makes this bill unfair.
The hearing heard testimony on both sides and took several hours. The committee did not vote on the bill.