A Democratic state lawmaker from St. Louis is urging Missourians to vote against a right-to-work referendum, saying right-to-work is “wrong for Missouri.”

The sponsor of the right-to-work bill, however, says it would increase union jobs in Missouri.

State Rep. Bruce Franks speaks on the Missouri House floor on May 24, 2017 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at Missouri House Communications}

State Rep. Bruce Franks Jr., D-St. Louis, who opposes right-to-work, notes his father was a longtime union member.

“Right-to-work states usually have more unsafe workplaces as well as lower wages,” Franks says.

Right-to-work says a person cannot be required to join or refrain from joining a labor organization, as a condition of employment.

Franks rallied against right-to-work in late March outside the Statehouse in Jefferson City, with a few thousand labor union members.

“Unions have fought to get us 40-hour workweeks and overtime and all of the benefits that we now benefit from in our workforce,” says Franks.

Missourians will cast ballots on a right-to-work referendum in November, unless the Legislature designates a different date for Proposition A.

State Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, the right-to-work bill sponsor, has filed legislation to move the election to August 7.

During a recent interview with Missourinet, House Economic Development Committee Chair Rehder says she’s looked at right-to-work states.

“Those states are the ones increasing in jobs and those states have union membership increasing, while Missouri has had union membership decreasing every single year for the last, what, 30 years,” Rehder said.

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (R) campaigned in 2016 for right-to-work, and signed Rehder’s bill into law in February 2017.

During the 2017 bill-signing ceremony, Greitens said that from 1995-2015, the five fastest states for job growth were all right-to-work states.

Union members and their supporters gathered enough signatures to place the referendum on the statewide ballot, so Rehder’s bill is essentially on-hold until the ballot measure.

As for Representative Franks, his large district includes downtown St. Louis, along with large sections of both the north and south sides.

“I got strong union folks throughout the 78th (House) district. My dad was a 20-year Teamster, Local 688,” Franks says.

Franks’ district includes Anheuser-Busch.

About 60 percent of Missourians rejected a right-to-work ballot measure in 1978.

 

Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and State Rep. Bruce Franks Jr., which was recorded outside the Statehouse in Jefferson City on March 28, 2018:

 

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