Statement | Unions and Labor Standards

News from EPI Missouri voters strike a blow for working people

Yesterday, the people of Missouri spoke loud and clear, beating back the latest attack by big business on working people by rejecting a so-called “right-to-work” law by a decisive margin.

The weight of the evidence shows that RTW would have been a terrible choice for Missouri. We know from the experiences of 27 states, including many of Missouri’s neighbors, that RTW laws don’t spur investment or create jobs. They do, however, undercut unions, lower wages, and weaken workers’ bargaining power. In fact, that is the whole reason for the enormous corporate interest in RTW.

Workers in unions make more money than similar workers who aren’t in unions, and even workers who aren’t in unions make more money when unions are strong. By letting people get the benefits of union representation at no cost, RTW undercuts unions’ ability to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. It is in the interest of corporate interests to get laws passed that will shift money from workers’ pockets to corporate profits.

This is the first major fight over RTW since the Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME in June which, overturning 40 years of precedent, barred state and local government unions from requiring workers who benefit from union representation to pay their fair share of that representation. By rejecting Proposition A, Missourians have struck a much needed blow for working people. To create a fairer, more prosperous, and sustainable Missouri, policymakers should be looking to policies that will strengthen—not gut—good jobs.