Right-to-Work Good For Missouri

Holly Rehder, Republican State Representative for Missouri’s 148th state district, writes about her decision to support a Right to Work law on semissourian.com.

I am proud to have been a part of the House majority that voted in favor of Right-to-Work in February, and I’m looking forward to the Senate adopting their own version of this policy and sending it back to the House for a vote so we can put it on the Governor’s desk. I’m also proud to say it has already been voted out of committee in the Senate, and is currently waiting to be brought up on the Senate floor.

Union bosses try to portray Right-to-Work as a policy that will hurt middle class workers. That is simply untrue. Let’s look at some facts:

Economies in Right-to-Work states grow much faster than states without a Right-to-Work policy. Non farm private-sector payroll employment grew by 9.2 percent in Right-to-Work states between 2003 and 2013, but by only 4 percent in non-Right to Work states, according to data from the National Institute for Labor Relations Research.

Twice, site selection consultants have testified to the Missouri Legislature that Right-to-Work is often a pass/fail issue for companies looking for a place to build a new facility or relocate their existing offices. We have lost out on an untold number of jobs just because we do not have a Right-to-Work law, but neighboring states do.

Here in Southeast Missouri, we have a front row view of the positive impact of Right-to-Work. Tennessee and Arkansas are both Right-to-Work states, and they have both seen their economies grow at a staggering rate. All while Missouri continues to struggle. In this region, we compete with both of these states, and we often lose out when companies are looking to build a new facility simply because we don’t have this common sense policy in place. Right-to-Work will help level the playing field, and with our state’s superior workers and infrastructure, we will become a top destination for job creation.

Between 2013 and 2014, Indiana — a Right-to-Work state — added 50,000 union members, increasing workforce union membership percentage from 9.3 percent to 10.7 percent. Over the same period, Missouri lost 5,000 union members, and our workforce union membership percentage went from 8.6 percent to 8.4 percent. Why does union membership increase in Right-to-Work states and decline in states without this policy? Businesses are moving to these states and they are growing with jobs.

Right-to-Work also will help provide more freedom for Missouri workers by ensuring every individual worker has the right to make their own decision about whether to join a union, rather than allowing union bosses to make that choice for them. This is a fundamental freedom granted by 25 other states, and it makes no sense that Missouri has not yet adopted such a policy. This is why union bosses do not like Right-to-Work; it makes them earn their money. Membership isn’t promised any longer. They have to provide a service that the worker feels is worth the cost. Simple as that.

Another misnomer is that a Right-to-Work policy will make wages go down; also simply untrue. For example, a plant that pays $25 an hour doesn’t decrease wages to $20 an hour once this policy is passed. We have yet to have anyone testify that a person’s hourly wage decreased because this law was put into place.

Right-to-Work is a common sense bill, and I truly hope we will become the next Right-to-Work state. Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve and fight for you in Jefferson City. Please stop by or contact us anytime by calling 573-751-5471 or via email at [email protected].

Holly Rehder is the Republican state representative from Missouri’s 148th District, which covers much of Scott and Mississippi counties.