JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House of Representatives has voted in favor of bringing Right to Work to Missouri’s construction industry, a positive step toward bringing comprehensive Right to Work status to our state.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has long advocated for the passage of Right to Work legislation to help spur economic development. Comprehensive Right to Work protections would also shield workers in many industries from having their wages rerouted to financially support unions. Nearly half of all states have already passed Right to Work laws.
“Looking across the country, Missouri’s lack of Right to Work protection has put us at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting jobs to our state. We are going to fall further behind if we continue to delay action on becoming a Right to Work state,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber President and CEO. “On the behalf of employers and workers across the state, I’d like to thank the Missouri House for their support of Right to Work and especially the bill sponsor Rep. Courtney Curtis and Speaker of the House Rep. John Diehl for making this legislation a priority early in the session.”
House Bill 582, sponsored by Rep. Courtney Curtis, a Democrat from Berkeley, is limited in that it focuses solely on ensuring construction workers are not required to join unions and pay union dues. During floor debate, Rep. Curtis said his bill was intended to send a message to building trade unions, which he said were excluding minority workers.
“There are two things you can do here, you can get something done or you can send a message,” Rep. Curtis said. “I’m trying to do both.”
Jay Atkins, Missouri Chamber General Counsel and Director of Governmental Affairs, praised the House vote and said he anticipates more dialog on Right to Work in the near future.
“The bill that was supported in House today is a positive step in the right direction,” he said. “We look forward to additional discussion as the General Assembly begins to consider bills to bring Right to Work to all industries.”
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.com) was founded in 1923 and is the largest business organization in Missouri, representing almost 3,000 employers, providing more than 425,000 jobs for Missourians.