Missouri Overturns ‘Right-to-Work’ Law in Referendum

from The Wall Street Journal,

Vote to undo 2017 measure gives organized labor a significant victory

Missouri voters on Tuesday overturned a “right-to-work” law in a referendum, giving organized labor a substantial victory. The vote to undo the law passed in 2017 by the Republican-led Legislature was called by the Associated Press. With nearly two-thirds of precincts reporting results, the vote was 64% to 36% against the law, according to the Missouri secretary of state’s website. The law would have allowed private-sector workers to opt out of paying union fees in unionized workplaces. “We’re just getting started. We’ll build on this tremendous achievement in the days and weeks to come,” said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO.

A union-backed group outspent supporters of the law by nearly 5 to 1 on advertising and other outreach efforts, according to the latest state filings.

“We got outspent,” said Dan Mehan, president and chief executive officer of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce. “We’re disappointed obviously, but it doesn’t take away from the benefits of being a right-to-work state.” Unions oppose such laws because they enable workers covered by union-negotiated contracts to avoid paying fees to the union to cover the costs of collective bargaining. Supporters of the laws say that workers, especially those who don’t agree with a union’s politics, shouldn’t have to pay such fees as a condition of employment. The vote halted, at least temporarily, a recent trend among states adopting such measures. Since 2012, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Kentucky have all enacted so-called right-to-work laws. Following Tuesday’s vote, there are 27 states that have such laws.

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