Governor Mike Parson’s office has been looking into ways to impose a Right to Work law at the county level.
KSDK-TV in St. Louis reports the governor’s staff members, including Policy Director Kayla Hahn, started looking at options before an August Right to Work ballot measure was rejected by voters. The TV station says it obtained nearly 80 pages of often redacted documents through an open records request that spell out the plans.
KSDK reports that one day before the August election, Hahn emailed Parson’s Chief of Staff Aaron Willard to discuss how municipalities in other states have passed local Right to Work statutes. She also provided links to “model ordinances” developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization funded by the Koch network that crafts legislation for mostly Republicans to introduce at the state and local level.
Nine days after the ballot measure was defeated, Governor Parson told reporters at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia that he would not make right to work a priority before the first of the year, saying, “The voters have spoken”
Right to Work laws prohibit the practice of requiring workers to join unions as a condition of employment.
KSDK published an interoffice memorandum on its website that includes correspondence among Governor Parson staffers including Hahn, Willard, and Federal Liaison Jordan Duecker. The memorandum is titled “Right to Work by County Ordinance”
Right to work has a tortured history for Republicans in Missouri. The party, which dominates the legislature, successfully signed a right to work bill into law in 2017 after having their efforts vetoed for years by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon.
The bill raced through the general assembly and was signed by then-Governor Eric Greitens, himself a right to work enthusiast, in February of last year.
But by rushing the legislation forward, lawmakers gave labor organizations that much more time to organize an opposition. The groups easily gathered the needed signatures to force a public vote on the new law.
Republicans then moved the vote on Right to Work from November to the August primary during the last legislative session.
The proposal lost by a landslide 67%-to-32% margin.
Another Right to Work bill was pre-filed this week by Republican Senator-elect Eric Burlison of Springfield.