Missouri voters have rejected right-to-work. Senate Bill 19, which would have made Missouri the nation’s 28th right-to-work state, was passed by the Missouri legislature on February 2, 2017, and signed into law by then-Governor Eric Greitens. Labor organizations and their supporters gathered enough signatures to keep the law from going into effect until voters in Missouri had an opportunity to weigh in.
A “right-to-work” law generally prohibits an employer and the union representing its employees from requiring those employees to join the union or pay dues to the union as a condition of their employment.
After Senate Bill 19 was signed into law, labor organizations and their supporters spent millions of dollars to gather enough signatures to put the bill to a vote. Ten days before the law was to become effective (on August 28, 2017), union supporters submitted more than 310,000 signatures (almost three times the 108,467 that were needed) and stopped the law from taking effect. On November 22, 2017, the Secretary of State certified that enough signatures had been submitted and set the right-to-work law for a vote on whether the law should take effect.
The vote was originally scheduled for the November 2018 mid-term general elections. However, on May 17, 2018, the Missouri legislature moved the vote to August 7, when Missouri holds its primaries.
Supporters of “right-to-work” laws generally argue that employees should not be forced to join a union that they do not wish to support. Opponents of “right-to-work” claim that such laws unfairly allow employees to receive the benefits of union contracts and representation without requiring them to contribute financially to the costs of obtaining those benefits.
Reportedly, lawmakers have indicated a willingness to reintroduce right-to-work legislation in 2019, but they have admitted they have to evaluate first where the “political will” is.
Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to discuss how this and other developments affect employers and their businesses.