Missouri unions have enough certified signatures to postpone the state’s new right-to-work law; the measure will now go to a public vote in 2018.
Supporters of the referendum gathered 163 boxes, 57,277 pages, and 310,567 signatures calling for voters to weigh in on the controversial measure, according to The Missouri Times.
Gov. Eric Greitens signed the legislation into law this February, which would have gone into effect Aug. 28, and would have protected workers from being compelled to join or pay dues to a labor union.
When Greitens signed the bill, he said it was an opportunity to help create more jobs within the Show Me State.
“Today represents a great victory for the people of Missouri and especially those families who are looking for jobs,” he said. “Passing right-to-work sends a very clear message: that the people of Missouri are ready to work, and Missouri is open for business.”
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce has been pushing for right-to-work laws for several years, and was pleased to see finally taken up and signed into law this past legislative session.
“It’s simple economics. If you make it more attractive for employers to provide jobs, you will see an increase in opportunities and economic growth,” said Dan Mehan, Missouri Chamber president, and CEO. “Data proves that right-to-work policy increases job opportunities and prosperity in the states that enjoy this freedom.”
St. Louis County Councilman Pat Dolan, who represents Clayton, said since there’s less than 10 percent of the workforce that are union workers, he doesn’t see right-to-work as a threat but says it’s still an attack on the middle-class.
“When people make a livable wage, it increases a lot of education potential, healthcare potential, and spending power,” Dolan said. “The middle-class is kind of getting shut out of the process when they don’t have representation.”
Dolan added that unions create opportunities for the workplace to become more balanced.
“Collective bargaining is there for a reason and I believe it’s a good check and balance to keep the playing field equal to employers,” he said. “There’s so many different things that unions provide outside of just paychecks, they do all kinds of charity work and service work and all of their training departments are self-funded, it doesn’t cost the taxpayer a dime.”