A Missouri House Committee voted Monday in Jefferson City to approve a Senate right-to-work version, which includes a key clause labor supports.

State Sen. Dan Brown (R-Rolla) prepares to testify before the Missouri House Economic Development Committee on right-to-work on January 30, 2017 (Brian Hauswirth photo)

The Missouri House Economic Development Committee heard more than an hour of testimony Monday, before voting 7-4 to approve State Sen. Dan Brown’s (R-Rolla) right-to-work bill. Brown’s legislation includes a “grandfather clause” to protect existing union contracts.

State Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) chairs the House committee. She notes while the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry says the “grandfather clause” isn’t necessary, they still testified for Brown’s bill.

“And you know, I feel the same way. I don’t think that it’s (grandfather clause) necessary, but this is what Senator Brown had gotten through the Senate, and so I’m going to honor it in the House,” says Rehder.

Brown testified that since Oklahoma passed right-to-work, every state that’s gone right-to-work has included a “grandfather clause”.

“And I would like to point out that that language is probably the toughest grandfathering language that’s in the United States on any of the right-to-work bills to date,” says Brown.

Brown testifies that right-to-work is “pro-worker” and “pro-taxpayer”.

Rehder says Brown’s legislation will go to the House Rules Committee Tuesday, and she expects the bill to hit the Missouri House floor on Thursday.

Chairwoman Rehder predicts union and non-union jobs will increase in Missouri, if right-to-work legislation passes.

Rehder’s committee heard testimony Monday from a Painters Union representative, who says unions help lift the “working poor” out of poverty. Rehder tells Missourinet that Republicans are also “working families”, adding that she’s experienced multiple job losses and that her husband lost his job once.

“I think that many times, the union members are uninformed when they just assume that they’re the only ones that are working families,” says Rehder. “We are all working families.”

The United Steelworkers Union spoke Monday against right-to-work, and former State Rep. Shannon Cooper (R-Clinton), who represents the Carpenters Union, testifies that Alabama and Mississippi have not done well economically, under right-to-work.

State Rep. Doug Beck (D-St. Louis) says right-to-work will cost Missouri about $120 to $160 million in lost revenue. Beck, a union pipefitter, spoke to Senator Brown during the hearing.

“So do you think that’s (passing right-to-work) a prudent decision to make when we’re going to facing such severe cuts as it is?”, Beck asked Brown.

“I’m not sure where you got your information or your numbers,” Brown told Beck. “Our fiscal note did not show anywhere near that kind of loss.”

Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh (D-Bellefontaine Neighbors) has led the fight against right-to-work. Walsh says right-to-work hurts middle-class families that drive the economy.

The NFIB, Americans for Prosperity and the Missouri Chamber were among the groups supporting right-to-work on Monday.