Read

Search form

Democrats, Unions Declare Victory As 'Right to Work' Loses By Wide Margin in Missouri

Democrats, Unions Declare Victory As 'Right to Work' Loses By Wide Margin in Missouri
Fri, 8/10/2018 - by Kurt Erickson and Jack Suntrup
This article originally appeared on St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Fueled by more than $15 million in campaign spending and laser-sharp attention from national labor unions, voters solidly rejected an attempt to make Missouri a “right to work” state.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday, unofficial results showed the ballot question asking whether the Show-Me State wanted to join 27 others in allowing private-sector workers to not pay dues to a labor organization had flamed out about 2 to 1.

“We are hopeful that the outcome of today’s election will put an end to attacks on Missouri’s working families and give our state a fresh start at working together to help and support all Missourians,” noted a statement from the We Are Missouri coalition, comprising labor unions and affiliated organizations. “In every corner of the state, voters rebuked the efforts of powerful, out-of-state corporate interests and dark money to control the future of Missouri’s economy.”

Dan Mehan, executive director of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the push by Republicans and business groups who supported the law was not a mistake.

“No miscalculation. It was a deluge of money coming in from out of state that helped them get to $20 million to buy the election,” Mehan said. “We just got blown out.”

From the start, pro-business groups supporting the law failed to keep pace with the millions of dollars that the unions pumped into the referendum. Yard signs, television ads and a radio ad by actor John Goodman — a Missouri native — dominated the campaign.

While supporters of Proposition A said states with similar laws had seen positive job growth, opponents said myriad other factors had played into boosting the business climate in those states. Opponents also said wages in right-to-work states were lower.

“I’ve seen the facts of states that have laws like right to work,” said United Auto Workers union member Michelle Whitley of Wright City. “It’s just not a good thing for our state.”

Whitley told the Post-Dispatch that she and other union members would continue to play defense against similar efforts by lawmakers.

“I don’t think we’ll ever stop fighting,” said Whitley, who works on the pickup and van assembly line at General Motors in Wentzville.

Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Webber called the push for right to work a “shameless attack on the middle class.”

“Tonight, Missouri voters rejected a top Republican priority and sent a resounding message that we will not leave working people behind,” Webber said.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also got in on the celebration.

"I'm glad to hear Prop A was defeated tonight in Missouri," he said on Twitter. "Right-to-work legislation must be defeated nationwide. We must stand together, beat back union busters, and continue to build and grow the trade union movement in this country."

In 1978, the last time right to work was on a statewide ballot, 60 percent of Missouri voters turned it down.

Despite steep declines in the union workforce, Tuesday’s measure was defeated in both urban and rural areas. Unofficial returns showed just 14 of Missouri’s 114 counties supporting the law.

The proposal was closely watched across the nation after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in late June that public sector workers cannot be compelled to pay fees to unions.

The Missouri vote would have extended that to private companies that have union bargaining agreements.

From the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, unions spent big on fighting what had been then-Gov. Eric Greitens’ signature achievement in his 17-month tenure.

For years, business-friendly Republican lawmakers have tried to move Missouri into the right-to-work column. Greitens’s arrival in January 2017 put the wheels in motion for Tuesday’s vote.

Moving swiftly in Greitens’ fledgling administration, lawmakers approved the right-to-work law and he signed it a month into his term.

But the quick turnaround gave labor unions a window to collect more than 310,000 signatures to put the law before voters.

In the waning days of the 2018 legislative session, Republicans countered by moving the referendum from the November ballot to Tuesday’s primary. Though they said the maneuver was aimed at resolving the debate more quickly, Democrats said the GOP was trying to manipulate the outcome with a typically lower primary voter turnout.

Three campaign funds that supported the referendum — Freedom to Work, Missourians for Freedom to Work and Missourians for Worker Freedom — raised more than $5.6 million.

Greitens, who left office June 1 under the cloud of a scandal, was involved too. His dark money nonprofit, A New Missouri Inc., which was the subject of a recent Missouri Ethics Commission complaint, contributed $2.3 million to the cause.

Despite the vote, Republicans who control the House and Senate could return for their 2019 session and vote again to make Missouri right to work, potentially triggering a repeat of the referendum process.

One right-to-work supporter, Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, said it was premature to discuss such a move. In his home county, Franklin, voters opposed the referendum 3 to 1.

“I think what we’ll do is evaluate the outcome of the vote to see what appropriate action will be taken,” Schatz said.

Mehan also said he was unsure if there would be an appetite to make another run at the law next year: “It’s an unfortunate result. We’re getting through tonight and seeing where the political will is.”

Originally published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Sign Up

Article Tabs

"the world has been growing too fast for too long. And now...the Earth is full. The only solution, he says, is to radically change the way we consume."

rising U.K. poverty, U.K. housing costs, soaring rents, Universal Income, Brexit

Britain is experiencing a financial crisis on a level not seen since the 2008 credit crunch, with average household expenses now higher than average household income for the first time in 30 years.

free market orthodoxy, libertarianism, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, privatization, socialism, capitalism, deregulation, monopolies, rightwing economics, voodoo economics

Concentrated corporate power must be dismantled and democracy substituted for it – a global project that will take generations but is likely to develop momentum as society experiences ever-greater crises.

free market economics, libertarianism, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, privatization, socialism, capitalism, anarchism, communism

The spectacle of millions adhering to such a breathtakingly stupid ideology as libertarianism would be comical if it weren’t so tragic.

Rokhsana Fiaz, Newham council, leftist governments, people power, Democratic Socialists of America, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, banking crimes

In Newham, East London, Rokhsana Fiaz took power in May with a radical manifesto to alleviate the council's housing crisis and increase citizen participation. She is following through, and change is afoot.

"the world has been growing too fast for too long. And now...the Earth is full. The only solution, he says, is to radically change the way we consume."

ICE detention centers, ICE detainees, immigrant rights, illegal immigration, Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project

Isabel's husband was detained by ICE. Then she received a call from the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project, part of a wave of new groups that bail out detained immigrants. They wanted to help.

rising U.K. poverty, U.K. housing costs, soaring rents, Universal Income, Brexit

Britain is experiencing a financial crisis on a level not seen since the 2008 credit crunch, with average household expenses now higher than average household income for the first time in 30 years.

movement building, movement of movements, movement stages, National Improved Medicare for All,

One way we measure success is by recognizing the growing popular movements across multiple fronts of struggle. Another way is by observing the actions of our opponents.

GOP tax scam, pass-through income, giveaways to billionaires, tax cuts for the rich, Treasury Department

The Treasury Department not only sided with banking lobbyists’ definition of “financial services,” but its new rule’s fine print echoed their interpretations of the 2017 federal tax law.

free market orthodoxy, libertarianism, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, privatization, socialism, capitalism, deregulation, monopolies, rightwing economics, voodoo economics

Concentrated corporate power must be dismantled and democracy substituted for it – a global project that will take generations but is likely to develop momentum as society experiences ever-greater crises.

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago
free market economics, libertarianism, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, privatization, socialism, capitalism, anarchism, communism

The spectacle of millions adhering to such a breathtakingly stupid ideology as libertarianism would be comical if it weren’t so tragic.

Posted 6 days 21 hours ago
rising inequality, wealth inequality, wealth gap, World Inequality Report, GOP tax cuts,

The income share of the poorest half of Americans is declining while the richest have grabbed more. In Europe, it’s not happening.

Posted 6 days 21 hours ago
rising U.K. poverty, U.K. housing costs, soaring rents, Universal Income, Brexit

Britain is experiencing a financial crisis on a level not seen since the 2008 credit crunch, with average household expenses now higher than average household income for the first time in 30 years.

Posted 3 days 52 min ago
GOP tax scam, pass-through income, giveaways to billionaires, tax cuts for the rich, Treasury Department

The Treasury Department not only sided with banking lobbyists’ definition of “financial services,” but its new rule’s fine print echoed their interpretations of the 2017 federal tax law.

Posted 5 days 1 hour ago
Monsanto, glyphosate, cancer-causing pesticides, GMOs, EPA, Roundup

Jurors awarded former school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson $39 million for his losses and $250 million to punish the company after it failed to warn of Roundup’s risks.

GOP tax scam, pass-through income, giveaways to billionaires, tax cuts for the rich, Treasury Department

The Treasury Department not only sided with banking lobbyists’ definition of “financial services,” but its new rule’s fine print echoed their interpretations of the 2017 federal tax law.

anti-Fascist, demonstrators, white supremacists, white nationalists, Unite the Right, Charlottesville violence, neo-Nazis, KKK, Ku Klux Klan

A small group of white nationalists marched through downtown Washington on Sunday and were met at the rally site by thousands of counterdemonstrators denouncing racism and white supremacy.

movement building, movement of movements, movement stages, National Improved Medicare for All,

One way we measure success is by recognizing the growing popular movements across multiple fronts of struggle. Another way is by observing the actions of our opponents.

rising inequality, wealth inequality, wealth gap, World Inequality Report, GOP tax cuts,

The income share of the poorest half of Americans is declining while the richest have grabbed more. In Europe, it’s not happening.