Right-to-Work states will continue to outpace Missouri

In the May 2015 edition of Site Selection Magazine, an article pointed out the two newest states moving into the “Top 10 Most Competitive States” ranking – Indiana and Michigan. The article points out that both states recently became Right-to-Work and that much of the ranking is based on “states new project performance.”

The article (http://www.siteselection.com/issues/2015/may/top-competitive-states.cfm) underlines what economic development professionals and enterprising states already know: Right-to-Work status means more jobs for the states that have the foresight and courage to enact it,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber and Industry president and CEO.

Today, Gov. Nixon vetoed legislation that would have made Missouri the nation’s 26th Right-to-Work state. Today’s action means that workers in Missouri will continue to be forced to join labor unions, or pay union dues, to keep a job in a unionized workplace. The governor’s signature also means fewer jobs for Missouri.

“Today, Gov. Nixon chose to use this issue as a political prop to grab media headlines instead of taking advantage of a strong economic development tool that is proven to add good-paying jobs,” Mehan said. “It’s simple economics. A state’s labor policy is one of the top factors employers and site selectors look to when deciding where to move or expand businesses. The more favorable a state looks, the more jobs that state will have to offer its workers.”

The majority of Missouri employers support making our state Right-to-Work according to a recent survey of more than 1,000 CEOs and top management conducted by Gallup. Support for this policy was even higher in some industry sectors, such as transportation, utilities and communications, where 67 percent supported making Missouri a Right-to-Work state. The survey was part of the Missouri Chamber’s effort to develop a 15-year strategic economic plan for our state called Missouri 2030: An Agenda to Lead.

Gallup also interviewed site selectors about Missouri’s labor status.

“Site selectors encouraged Missouri to become Right-to-Work,” Mehan said. “One site selector commented that Missouri’s prospect flow in manufacturing is only 60 percent of what it would be if it was Right-to-Work.”

The Missouri Chamber encourages political leaders to look at the research.

“We have Gallup and leading economic development magazines citing the importance of labor status, but instead Missouri has chosen politics as usual,” Mehan said.

Over the last year, the Missouri Chamber has invested nearly $500,000 in a research through its Missouri 2030 initiative to develop a comparison of Missouri’s economic position among other states and identify ways the state can improve performance. The research showed that Missouri’s job growth significantly lags other states.  Missouri’s real GDP per capita grew less than 1 percent between 2003 and 2013, the 43rd slowest rate among the 50 states, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

“If 43rd in GDP growth is acceptable, then I guess we don’t need to make any changes to our economic policy as a state,” said Mehan. “But we believe that ranking is unacceptable and that Missouri needs to make changes to do better. This legislation would have helped us do better.”

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.com) is the largest business association in Missouri. Together, with the Missouri Chamber Federation, the Missouri Chamber represents more than 40,000 employers.

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About mochamber

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry understands that the quality of life in our state depends on quality jobs for Missourians. To that end, we have one simple mission: to protect and advance Missouri business.

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