Unions In Missouri Rally Against Right-To-Work Bill
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's condemnation of so-called right-to-work legislation as unnecessary and misguided drew applause from about a thousand Missouri union members who gathered Wednesday at the state Capitol.
The measure to prohibit labor contracts from requiring that all employees pay union fees, regardless of whether workers are union members, is a top priority of House Republican leaders this year.
But some union members attending the annual rally sponsored by the Missouri State Building and Construction Trades Council said it would weaken a union's ability to collectively bargain and secure protections for workers.
"This is not an issue we need. It will do nothing but harm the middle class and is about lowering wages," said Glenn Lindsey, a Fulton-based Local 36 sheet metal worker for 32 years and third generation union member.
The measure's backers, including House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, argue the measure would allow Missouri to successfully compete for new jobs. Jones has said the 24 states that currently have right-to-work policies generally have the greatest economic prosperity.
Those arguments were dismissed by Nixon, who reiterated his opposition to the bill at Wednesday's rally. The governor's objections have caused Republican supporters to consider sending the issue to voters this year for approval instead of legislation he might veto to his desk. But Nixon said that approach wouldn't keep him on the sidelines.