So-Called “Right-to-Work” Defeated in Missouri
Labor strikes back! In a critical battle faced by the labor movement union members and community allies joined together to stop Right-to-Work (for less) in Missouri. These laws make it optional for workers covered by union contracts to help pay for the expenses unions incur protecting workers’ rights.
Passed by the Missouri General Assembly in 2017, this anti-worker law was blocked from being implemented after workers rose up and gathered roughly 300,000 signatures against the law. This action forced a direct vote by the residents of Missouri on the law.
Right-to-Work advocates are anti-worker, big-business that seek to weaken the unions’ ability to fight for workers' rights, and thus, weaken workers’ ability to have input in their job conditions, wages, and benefits. Advocates for the MO Right-to-Work (for less) law moved the vote up from Election Day on Nov. 6 to August 7, hoping that a low voter turnout would allow the legislation to be implemented. This tactic severely underestimated working people’s dedication to protecting their right to collectively bargain.
Thousands of workers were part of the Vote NO on Prop A campaign to defeat the legislation. They hit the streets, went to community meetings to educate the public about the legislation, and spread awareness throughout the state. APWU members were part of the Vote NO on Prop A campaign and participated in numerous actions.
The workers’ actions were successful. Ninety-nine of Missouri’s 114 counties voted to repeal Right-to-Work, despite less than 10% of the Missouri workforce belonging to a union.
“This was a victory for all working people,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Momentum is on our side and we will continue to fight back against any attempt to weaken a worker’s right to collective bargaining.”
“This victory would not have been possible without the countless people who fought long and hard for this result,” said Legislative and Political Director Judy Beard. “We especially want to thank our APWU members in Missouri who dedicated their time and energy to phone-banking, knocking on doors, and getting out the vote.”