Two bills came before the Workforce Standards and Development committee in the House this week that would change Missouri’s right to work status.
Committee chairman Rep. Bill Lant sponsored House Bill 569, and Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, sponsored House Bill 116. The bills are identical, and if passed will prohibit employers from requiring workers to become members of a union as a condition of their employment. Burlison presented both bills at the hearing, and argued that passing Right to Work legislation would be an economic boon for the state.
“Freedom to work is necessary if Missouri wishes to regain a competitive standing with the states that surround us,” Burlison stated in his presentation. “This important legislation will encourage job growth, make unions responsive and stronger and promote the individual freedom of workers across Missouri.”
Lt. Governor Peter Kinder testified on behalf of the bill. “You can see where opportunities and jobs are going and it’s not Missouri,” Kinder said. “The facts are that Freedom to Work states attract business investments leading to more jobs. In fact, Texas alone has created more jobs since 2007 than the other states combined. (Texas is a right to work state.)
Jay Atkins, general counsel for the Missouri Chamber, testified in favor of the bills. “This issue has been a priority for our members for a number of years, and will continue to be one until Missouri is a Right to Work state” Atkins said. When pressed by Democratic committee members on the importance of keeping unions viable through mandatory dues, Atkins said “good unions don’t need compulsory funding, and bad unions don’t deserve it.”
Both bills, as well as a similar bill by Rep. Courtney Curtis (D-St. Louis) were voted do pass by the committee.
For more information about right to work legislation, please contact Jay Atkins at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-634-3511.