Twenty-four states have right to work laws, and the Missouri House passed a measure last week that could make Missouri the 25th. The question is whether the measure will survive a vote in the Senate and an expected veto by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon.
The measure, which would bar unions from collecting fees from non-members in the construction industry, had support from the majority of House Republicans. Though the bill does not currently have enough support between House democrats and republicans to override a veto from the democratic Governor, support for Right to Work has risen since a similar bill was defeated last year.
Supporters of the bill say that workers should not be forced to pay fees to an organization they do not agree with. Much support for the bill came from minority and female workers in the building trades, some of them democrats, who say prejudices, including racism, prevent them from being included in the unions. They say they look at Right to Work as a way to bring equality to workers across the industry.
Unions have lobbied against Right to Work legislation across the country. They say that Right to Work laws will lower their membership numbers and will cause unions to lose bargaining power, which will in turn lower wages and make workplaces less safe.
Right to Work continues to be a developing area of law across the country. Just last week, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner issued an executive order that allows state employees to opt-out of paying union dues. Whatever happens next in Missouri, it is certain that Right to Work will continue to a topic of debate in Jefferson City.
The St. Louis employment attorneys at McMahon Berger have been representing employers across the country in labor and employment matters, including those relating to drafting discrimination policies, for almost sixty years, and are available to discuss these issues and others. As always, the foregoing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice regarding any particular situation as every situation must be evaluated on its own facts. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.