Springfield, Mo (11/27/17) -- Working people in Missouri had a quarter-million reasons to be thankful over the holiday weekend.
The Missouri Secretary of State’s Office certified 250,327 signatures of registered voters who want to decide the Right to Work question at the ballot box in November 2018. Opponents of the measure needed only about 140,000 signatures to put the issue to a public vote, but union members across Missouri gathered 78 percent more signatures than necessary to place it on the ballot.
“This is proof positive that Missouri’s working people want to decide for themselves and not leave it to Gov. Eric Greitens and his legislature to force this upon us,” said Heavy Construction Laborers Union Local 663 President and Business Manager Jason Mendenhall. “This so-called ‘right-to-work’ hurts families and communities. We should have the right to protect ourselves with our right to vote.”
Greitens signed the bill passed by the Missouri General Assembly earlier this year. It was set to take effect in August, however, union people spread out across the state to gather signatures. When they submitted more than 300,000 signatures at the State Capitol on August 18, it put the new law on hold to give Missouri voters the final say.
The so-called “Right to Work” measure aims to ban the collection of union dues as a condition of employment.
“Just the name ‘right to work’ is a lie,” added Tim Bell, Business Manager of the Western Missouri and Kansas Laborers District Council. “Federal law already protects workers from being forced to join a union. This is just a cash-grab, trying to take money out of the pockets of working people in Missouri.”
The truth is, the so-called Right to Work law would hurt non-union workers far more than union members. In Missouri, less than 10 percent of wage earners across the state are members of a labor union. Union members and non-union construction workers alike oppose this wage-destroying legislation.
The Right to Work question last made the ballot in 1978, when 60 percent of Missouri voters gave an emphatic “NO!” to proposed Amendment 23.
Local 663 represents working men and women in the building trades in 34 counties across western and southern Missouri. The District Council covers the western half of Missouri and all of Kansas. Both organizations promise a hard-fought, truthful campaign for the future of working people in Missouri.