Missourians Face Refight of Their Battle Against Forced Unionism
Just 11 months ago, immediately after union bosses had spent an estimated $12 million to retain control over the Missouri governorship so that they could perpetuate compulsory union dues and fees in the Show-Me State, voters sent Big Labor a clear message.
By a solid margin, Missouri citizens voted to make unabashed Right to Work supporter Eric Greitens their next chief executive, and reject union-label gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster, then the state’s attorney general.
This February, the Missouri Legislature and Mr. Greitens fulfilled the mandate they had plainly been given by the voters of the state.
Big Labor Aims to Circumvent Elected Lawmakers, Strangle Right to Work in Cradle
Lawmakers passed, and Mr. Greitens signed, a Right to Work measure prohibiting the termination of employees for refusal to join or bankroll an unwanted union.
Unfortunately, it now seems inevitable that the freedom-loving Missourians who fought for years to pass a state law revoking union officials’ compulsory-dues and compulsory-fee privileges will have to refight the entire battle over the next 13 months.
Even before forced dues-repeal legislation was adopted by the Missouri House and Senate, Big Labor had launched a multi-million-dollar campaign to circumvent elected lawmakers and strangle Right to Work in the cradle.
‘If We Don’t Get Chris Koster Elected, Missouri Will Very Quickly’ Be Right to Work
Top union bosses are justifying the multi-million-dollar campaign, funded largely by forced dues and fees extracted from employees outside of Missouri, with claims that state voters didn’t know what was at stake in the 2016 elections.
Such forced-unionism propaganda is patently false.
“Right-to-Work Debate Puts National Spotlight on Missouri Governor’s Race” was the apt headline for a news story filed in late August 2016 by St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Kevin McDermott.
To illustrate his point, Mr. McDermott quoted fervently pro-forced unionism state Rep. Jake Hummel (D-St. Louis):
“For organized labor, it is make or break. . . . If we don’t get Chris Koster elected, Missouri will very quickly be a right-to-work state.”
On the campaign trail, Mr. Greitens enthusiastically courted the support of the overwhelming majority of Missourians who agree with the Right to Work principle.
He vowed again and again to fight for passage of a state Right to Work law, because compulsory unionism is morally wrong and also because, in his words, “Missouri has lost countless good-paying jobs to more business-friendly states.”
Every Pro-Right to Work Lawmaker Seeking Reelection Was Returned to Office
On Election Day, at the same time they backed the pro-Right Work candidate for chief executive, Missouri voters returned to office all Right to Work-supporting legislators in the Missouri House and Senate who sought reelection.
National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix commented:
“No politically sentient person in Missouri could have been the least bit surprised this February 2 when the Missouri Legislature sent S.B.19, legislation prohibiting the termination of employees for refusal to join or bankroll a union, to Gov. Greitens’ desk.
“And every Missourian who even casually follows public affairs must have expected Mr. Greitens to sign this measure, as he promptly did.”
Repeal Petition Language Is Crafted to Mislead
Big Labor’s ongoing campaign to destroy Missouri’s fledgling Right to Work law is premised on an obvious lie, but no one should assume for that reason that it can’t succeed.
On August 18, the Missouri AFL-CIO hierarchy and a union front organization known as We Are Missouri submitted to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft what clearly seem to be a sufficient number of petitions to prevent the Right to Work law from taking effect as scheduled and force a November 2018 election to overturn it.
Under Missouri law, such petition drives may be used to block enforcement of a recently enacted state statute and mandate an election over whether or not it should stay on the books. It now seems all but certain that the repeal referendum will occur next fall.
“Missouri union bosses have just started spending, with the assistance of union kingpins nationwide, what will surely end up being millions of forced-dues dollars to revoke Right to Work protections for employees before they’re even implemented,” said Mr. Mix.
“Their goal is to restore their legal power to get workers fired for not turning over part of their paychecks to Big Labor.
“They know the Right to Work principle they oppose is overwhelmingly popular, so they will be aiming throughout this campaign to confuse voters about what the law really does.”
As this Newsletter edition goes to press in early September, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the Committee’s sister organization, is still attempting in court to change the Big Labor-friendly ballot language Mr. Ashcroft has rubber-stamped so voters won’t be confused.
Mr. Mix (who also heads the Foundation) pointed to a June decision by Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green agreeing with Foundation attorneys and their freedom-loving employee clients that the summary language on the repeal referendum is “misleading.”
If Biased Referendum Language Remains, Committee Will Help Citizens See Through It
Unfortunately, in late July the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District heeded the wishes of Big Labor lawyers and reinstated Mr. Ashcroft’s misleading language, which asks voters if they want to “adopt” a law that has already been passed and signed by the governor.
Foundation attorneys are now asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider this misguided ruling, but at press time it is still unclear if an appeal will even be heard.
Mr. Mix promised that, if the biased ballot language remains despite the best efforts of the Foundation and its clients, the Committee is prepared to put ample amounts of time, money and talent into a campaign to help citizens see through it.
“Big Labor is conspiring to make Missourians’ battle to retain their Right to Work law as difficult as possible. But, I am optimistic it will be won all the same,” Mr. Mix concluded.