After nearly five months of work by labor organizers, union representatives and workers critical of Missouri’s Right to Work bill, the long hours and hard work has seemingly paid off.
On August 18th, the deadline for the referendum petition, critics gathered three times the amount of signatures needed to enact the petition. This stalls Right to Work’s implantation just 10 days before it was to go into effect.
The bill’s ultimate fate will be decided by voters in 2018.
“This is a true victory for critics of Right to Work,” said Richard Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18 in nearby Ohio. “Our allies informed voters of what’s at stake and they decided what’s best. This is democracy in action.”
The referendum petition kicked off in April as critics of Right to Work sought new ways to fight the incoming bill. The rarely used tactic required groups work together to obtain about 90,000 signatures by their August deadline.
The final count came to over 300,000 signatures.
An early morning rally drew large crowds to Missouri’s capital as the petition was presented, with supporters celebrating their success.
“This is our living,” said Tamara Maxwell, a Ford union member. “We should be in control of that, not one person just signing it away.”
Supporters of Right to Work launched counter-campaigns to draw support to their side. Many of these campaigns would go on to be the subject of criticism. The slogan “Right to Work helps when ‘no, thank you’ won’t” came under fire for misleading voters. Additionally, other representatives and information ignored existing union rights while making claims that weren’t supported by the bill. When all else failed, they took the petition to court for vague language, which was eventually overturned and thrown out.
Right to Work is the collective term for several laws which would impact unions and related industries. Under Right to Work legislation, employees are no longer required to join unions or pay dues, but can still receive union benefits. The belief is that it provides relief to struggling workers and frees up money for employers to invest into the business.
On paper, Right to Work sounds great. Less money spent on dues and union bargaining means higher take home pay and more spent on business growth. However, studies show the opposite. Employers typically pocket the difference and, without financial support, unions will collapse. This ultimately leaves workers susceptible to poor workplace conditions and cripples job growth.
“Missouri is on the path to beating Right to Work,” said Dalton. “When the petition passes review, the fight to convince workers in the voting booth begins.”
For more information on Right to Work in Ohio, visit: http://protectohiosmiddleclass.org
SOURCE: Keep Ohio's Heritage
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