Missouri’s poor economy Could Bring Right to Work Law


Missouri’s lack of economic vigor and the passage of a Right to Work law twice in the past 2 years could make the probability of passage next year even greater.  Jacob Bogage has the story in The Washington Post.

First the General Motors assembly plant in Hazelwood, a St. Louis exurb, closed in 2006. The Chrysler plant in south Fenton shuttered two years later, then the plant on the north side of town a year after that.

And then came the Great Recession.

Some 43,000 workers lost their jobs because of the plant closings, according to a study conducted by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.

That’s when Missouri conservatives dug in their heels in the fight for so-called “right-to-work” policies, measures that exempt employees from paying mandatory union dues, effectively undercutting a union’s ability to finance itself and hence collectively bargain.

So for the last two years, Missouri’s Republican-dominated state legislature has passed right-to-work legislation, only to have it vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

The back-and-forth made the Show-Me State a national battleground over the future of labor policy and unionism, economists say. Now, Republicans are planning to use the issue to help their party reclaim the governor’s mansion; Nixon, a two-term incumbent, is barred by the state’s constitution from running for a third term.

Twenty-five states, including six that border Missouri, have right-to-work legislation. Missouri, a blue-collar heartland state with a Democratic governor, could be crucial No. 26, a meaningful bellwether for national conservatives.