As the wait begins for Missouri’s upcoming revote of Gov. Eric Greitens’ 2017 Right to Work bill, workers from around the state bussed to its capitol in support of unions. Attendees represented several of the state’s critical industries, from steel to dairy, and even retirees thankful for continued support through pensions.
“Me working 35 years in the dairy business, I know that my pension has been guaranteed,” said Rich Pickering, a retired union member. “And it’s the unions that did that for us.”
Like many states after the 2016 general election, Missouri saw a Republican sweep in its legislature. After years of unsuccessful attempts to implement Right to Work, this new majority offered a clear path. Within weeks of taking office, Gov. Eric Greitens signed a bill into law.
Before Right to Work could be fully implemented, however, critics of the measure and union representatives launched a referendum petition. The bill was put on hold pending the results of a two-month campaign to collect signatures in support of a revote. Over 300,000 signatures were collected, freezing the bill until the 2018 midterms, when its final fate will be decided.
“The good salt of the Earth people are not going to allow [Right to Work] to happen to us,” said Pickering. “We’re just going to fight, fight to the end.”
Despite the overwhelming success of the petition and clear will of the public, some GOP lawmakers are focused on implementing the bill. The bill’s authors have already announced interest in moving the vote to the August primary, where voter turnout is lowest.
“This rally is only the beginning,” said Richard Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18 in nearby Ohio. “Over 300,000 people signed to vote on this issue, and every one of those people will make their voices heard from now through election day.”
Missouri isn’t alone in its battle with Right to Work. Since the broad Republican sweep in 2016’s presidential election, citizens from Pennsylvania to Texas have been fighting with these largely unpopular bills implemented through the party’s majority power.
Right to Work is a collection of laws which restrict the power of unions. Under them, workers are no longer required to become a member or pay dues. They continue to receive benefits regardless of their choice.
Supporters of the measure claim it saves business owners money normally dedicated to bargaining. These savings then go back into the company, helping the business and job market grow. However, most studies of its effects show unions collapse without financial backing. From there, savings stay at the top of the ladder while wages, benefits and jobs shrivel up.
“If it’s what’s best for the people, it’s what the people would want,” said Dalton. “Missouri’s citizens are being sold out by their lawmakers to benefit those at the top and they’ve had enough.”
For more information on Right to Work in Ohio, visit: http://protectohiosmiddleclass.org.
SOURCE: Keep Ohio's Heritage
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