In the August primary election, Missourians overwhelmingly opposed a “right to work” measure that would have banned workers from having to join a union as a condition of employment. State Senator Gary Romine, R-Farmington, says he’s disappointed his fellow Republicans and the governor are bringing back a “right to work” bill next year.
“It’s frustrating because the citizens did speak in an astounding way – beating it by close to 70 percent. That’s a strong statement by the will of the people,” Romine tells Missourinet affiliate KREI in Farmington. “I’m disappointed that we’re going to be having to deal with this issue again.”
State Senator-elect Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, has filed the bill. He has filed similar measures during his previous days in the Missouri House of Representatives. Supporters of such laws contend that such labor regulations would improve Missouri’s economy and create jobs.
Opponents say a “right to work” law would lower wages for all Missourians, not just union workers. Romine, whose district includes a large number of union workers, has opposed making “right to work” the law of the land.
“I think the voice of the people is going to be very important at this point that they call their legislators,” says Romine. “It’s going to have to be interaction between the people and the legislators.”
A report by KSDK-TV in St. Louis says staff members in Governor Mike Parson’s office, including Policy Director Kayla Hahn, started looking at options before the 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”.
The Missouri General Assembly will start a new session at the Capitol in Jefferson City on January 9 at noon.
Story written by Alisa Nelson, Jason Taylor and Missourinet affiliate KREI in Farmington
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