‘Right to work’ makes headway in Missouri’s statehouse

Although a coalition of state business organizations kept it off their agenda for the 2011 legislative session, a measure termed by supporters “right to work” has been put on the fast track in Missouri’s Senate.

The measure would prohibit any contract that forced an employee to pay service fees to a union representing other workers at the company.

Supporters of “right to work” argue the measure will make Missouri more competitive with bordering states that have already enacted the policy.

“Every one of those right to work states picked up population and has a lower unemployment rate than the non right to work states,” said Sen. Luann Ridgeway, R-Smithville, the Senate bill’s sponsor. “We have got to turn this situation around for the approximately 10 percent of Missourians who want to work but can’t find jobs.”

Ridgeway cited that 50 percent of manufacturing jobs that seek site locations and expansion specifically request locations in “right to work” states. She said more employment opportunities will come to Missouri if it enacts the measure.

Opposition comes from the left with some Democrats arguing “right to work” will lower standards and take away the protection unions offer to employers.

“Anybody can swing a hammer. Just because you can swing a hammer doesn’t make you a carpenter. Just because you can screw in a light bulb doesn’t make you an electrician,” said Rep. Sylvester Taylor, D-St. Louis County.

“There are no standards they have to abide by. We have to abide by certain standards. I think Missouri has a more skilled workforce than our neighboring states,” Taylor said.

– Missouri Digital News