A key Missouri lawmaker plans to file right-to-work legislation in January.
State Representative Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) plans to file the bill in January. If Attorney General Chris Koster (D) wins the Governor’s race, Rehder will try to bypass Koster and have the measure placed on the statewide ballot. While 60 percent of Missourians voted against right-to-work in 1978, Rehder says things are different now.
“You know it’s been back in the 70s when it failed at the ballot box. However, union membership was about 30 percent where now it’s less than eight,” Rehder says.
Right-to-work says that a person cannot be required to join or refrain from joining a labor organization, as a condition of employment. Rehder, who chairs the House Select Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations, says states that have passed right-to-work have seen increased employment, including more union jobs. Rehder disagrees with union leaders who say the measure will lead to lower wages.
“When you look at these other states, the only reason that the union bosses stay concerned about right-to-work is because at the point that it is passed, they are the only ones it affects, the union bosses. They then have to start working to retain membership, working to get new members,” Rehder says.
But Koster and other Democrats disagree. Koster says he would veto right-to-work, saying states that have passed it have lower wages, fewer benefits and more dangerous workplaces.
“Public service should aim to move the rights of the people forward – not backward to a time without even a minimum wage,” Koster wrote in a “Missouri Times” September 5 op-ed.
Koster also says right-to-work states, on average, saw smaller median income growth than Missouri.
Koster faces Eric Greitens (R) in November. Greitens supports right-to-work.
Rehder is unopposed in November. She’ll begin her third House term in January.