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Right-to-Work Defeated Again in Missouri

by Michael Byrne  |  September 21, 2015

Right-to-Work Defeated Again in Missouri

The Missouri Legislature could not muster the votes necessary to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a “right-to-work” bill, preventing the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) from claiming a 26th state with the anti-worker law.

The 96-63 vote to override the veto fell 13 votes short, as legislators from both sides of the aisle sided with the labor movement against the attack from out-of-state special interests pushing the right-to-work scam.

Unions rallied in Jefferson City ahead of the vote, warning Republicans and Democrats alike that the right-to-work scam is nothing more than an attack on working families and that unions will stand up for the middle class.

The vote came the day after the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that a “right-to-work” ballot initiative specify in its title that workers who benefit from a union contract would avoid paying for the efforts to negotiate that contract – finally truth in advertising on so-called “right to work.”

While labor was successful in beating back the right-to-work scam in Missouri, the Legislature did manage to push through an anti-worker bill banning cities from raising the minimum wage above the state level of $7.65 an hour. Governor Nixon vetoed that measure but the Legislature overrode his action. Both the St. Louis and Kansas City councils had approved eventually raising their minimum wages above the state limit.

But unions could take comfort in how the right-to-work scam was being portrayed in Missouri newspapers. Just before the vote, the Kansas City Star editorial pointed out that ALEC lobbyists won support for the bill by wining and dining legislators. The editorial board urged lawmakers to uphold Nixon’s veto, saying:

“Missouri needs unions. At a time when hard-working people are demanding livable wages and a measure of security for their families, it should not become the 26th state to undermine collective bargaining.”

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