Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri Lawmakers Send Nixon 'Right-to-Work' Measure

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri Lawmakers Send Nixon 'Right-to-Work' Measure

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY * Jeff Hayes can remember walking door-to-door with his father in 1978, urging voters to defeat a ballot proposal barring unions from collecting fees from nonmembers.

Almost 40 years later, Hayes, from Kansas City, found himself at the Capitol on Monday fighting that exact same fight again.

"I do not believe this is right for Missouri residents," said Hayes, a member of the Communication Workers of America and one of hundreds of union workers who flooded the Capitol this week to oppose the measure.

But the Missouri Legislature doesn't agree. The House voted 92- 66 Wednesday to send the measure to Gov. Jay Nixon, who is against "right-to-work."

One day earlier, the Senate used a rare procedure known as the "previous question" to shut down debate and force a vote on the measure after Democrats blocked action with a filibuster for more than eight hours. The Senate then voted 21-13 in favor of it.

Both the House and the Senate were short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto from Nixon 109 votes are needed in the House and 23 in the Senate.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Nixon signaled he would veto the bill. He said it would weaken the economy by lowering wages, making "it harder for middle-class families to move up the economic ladder."

"At a time when our economy is picking up steam and businesses are creating good jobs, this so-called right-to-work bill would take Missouri backwards," Nixon said.

Currently, workers at a union employer can opt out of paying dues for union membership, but may be required to pay fees for the collective bargaining and other representation services provided by the union.

Under the measure, employees who are not members of the union could not be forced to pay fees for such union services. Business representatives who violate the measure could be charged with a class C misdemeanor, which could result in 15 days in jail and a $300 fine.

That "scares me," said Rep. Galen Higdon, R-St. Joseph.

Opponents argue the measure would lower wages and lead to more dangerous work environment.

"If you're for the 1 percent and not the good of the whole, then you're in favor of this so-called right-to-work for less," said Rep. …

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