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Victory For Unions As Missourians Vote No On ‘Right To Work’ Law

August 8, 2018, on News & Results |

In a landslide victory, Missouri voters opted to shut down the latest attempt to make Missouri a “Right to Work” state.[1] Right to Work legislation, passed in 2017 by the Missouri legislature and signed by then Governor Eric Greitens, banned mandatory union fees for workers who opted out of joining the union.[2] Labor organizers, rightfully threatened by the legislation, gathered the required signatures to block the law from going into effect, allowing Missourians to vote on the issue through Proposition A.[3] About 67% of Show-Me state voters opposed the law, with roughly 33% in favor. Twenty-seven states across the U.S. allow employees in unionized workforces to opt out of union membership and fee requirements. 

Opponents of the law argued that the fees are essential to protect workers’ rights, particularly due to federal law requiring that unions represent all workers, including those who would opt out. Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO, remarked, "It's a truly historic moment. Tonight, we celebrate, but tomorrow we're getting back to work. We're going to take this energy and momentum and build more power for working people across Missouri."

With $15 million pumped into opposition campaigns, the vote was analyzed and examined across the country. The voters’ rejection of Right to Work in Missouri comes shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which held that public-sector workers who opt out of union membership are no longer obligated to pay for collective bargaining.[4] Union supporters across Missouri suggest they will maintain an offensive position in the fight for workers’ rights. As noted by Economic Policy Institute analyst Janelle Jones, “This vote could represent the pendulum swinging back to workers and away from corporate interests.”[5]