The House sponsor of Missouri’s 2017 right-to-work bill says unions would benefit from the measure.
Missouri Democrats and labor unions have a different perspective.
State Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, predicts right-to-work would lead to thousands of new jobs.
“All that it is saying is if you want to be a part of the union you can,” Rehder says. “If you choose not to be, if you don’t think it’s a service worth paying for, you are not forced to any longer.”
Rehder tells Missourinet right-to-work would increase union jobs in Missouri.
Rehder, who chairs the House Economic Development Committee, 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,” says Rehder.
Right-to-work says that a person cannot be required to join or refrain from joining a labor organization, as a condition of employment.
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (R), who campaigned for right-to-work, signed Rehder’s bill in February 2017.
During the bill-signing ceremony that day, Greitens said that from 1995-2015, the five fastest states for job growth were all right-to-work states.
He called the right-to-work bill signing a “great victory” for Missourians, especially those who were looking for work.
Rehder says within 30 days of Greitens signing the bill, companies were calling saying they wanted to move to Missouri.
After the bill was signed in 2017, labor unions and their backers were able to collect enough signatures to place the referendum on the statewide ballot, so Rehder’s bill is essentially on-hold until the ballot measure.
Missourians will cast ballots in November on the right-to-work referendum, unless the Legislature designates a different date for Proposition A.
A few thousand union members from across Missouri rallied last week on the wet Capitol lawn in Jefferson City against Prop. A.
Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, told the audience that union workers and their families in Missouri “are under attack”, with Proposition A.
Walsh says right-to-work would lower wages, and would tear down what labor built.
About 60 percent of Missourians rejected a right-to-work ballot measure in 1978.
Rehder says she and Senator Walsh respect each other, but disagree on the right-to-work issue.
Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and State Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, which was recorded at the Statehouse in Jefferson City on March 28, 2018: