Right-to-work legislation to be at forefront of veto session

State legislative veto session begins Wednesday

By Jill Ornitz and Shannon Shaver

JEFFERSON CITY — The debate revolving around so-called “right to work” is the top vetoed issue facing outside campaigns in preparation for the state legislative veto session, which begins Wednesday.

The bill would ban the ability to require an employee to join or pay dues to a union.

For proponents of the legislation, passing “right to work” means Missouri is on the same level as economically competitive states.

“Missouri has lost over $2 billion in adjusted gross income over the last 20 years and a lot of that money has gone to right-to-work states like Texas, Arizona and North Carolina,” said Rachel Payton, deputy state director of conservatively funded Americans for Prosperity. “While those states are seeing a 42-percent gain in total employment, and in non-right to work we’re only seeing 19 percent.”

But right to work could have far-reaching consequences in Missouri, according to critics of the legislation.

“Even the sponsors of the bill have admitted that once right-to-work bill passes, wages are going to go down for workers,” said Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO.

Workers’ wages decrease by $2,500 in states with right-to-work legislation, according to Louis.

“So the family quits paying taxes on five-thousand dollars of their income to the state into the school districts,” Louis said. “You multiply that by the number of working families in the state, you’re talking one hell of a lot of money.”