A Missouri state legislator is planning to introduce a bill allowing workers to opt out of union membership, removing requirements that workers join a union as a condition of employment.
State Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) announced plans in October to propose the bill in January 2017.
Time for Change
Rehder says Missouri workers are being left behind by economic successes in nearby states that have worker-choice laws.
“It’s time we make Missouri a right-to-work state and begin enjoying some of the economic benefits that come with that,” Rehder said. “If you are a steel worker in Tennessee when your state passed right-to-work, your wage did not go down, so the current wages of union members don’t change because a state becomes right-to-work. You have more people working, more people paying taxes, more families spending money.”
Unions Benefit, Too
Rehder says right-to-work laws also benefit labor unions.
“Right-to-work states have actually shown an increase in union membership,” Rehder said. “The union boss is no longer guaranteed a member. They have to work and provide a beneficial service for the union member to want to pay for it. The states that have passed right-to-work laws have more jobs coming in, in turn increasing union membership.”
Rehder says Missouri’s forced-unionism law causes jobs to leave for other states.
“Making Missouri a business-friendly state will increase jobs,” Rehder said. “We need business owners, the ones taking all the risk, to look at Missouri and say we are providing a great environment for their business to thrive. Union membership will continue to decrease in Missouri because our jobs are leaving. We cannot expect to maintain the same antiquated labor laws year after year and expect different results.”
Rehder says right-to-work laws benefit taxpayers as well.
“Right-to-work is free economic development,” Rehder said. “It doesn’t cost the taxpayers a dime. It makes Missouri more business-friendly, which in turn makes us more attractive to those who do create jobs.”
Evidence of Success
Ryan Johnson, executive director of the Missouri Alliance for Freedom, says other states’ experiences with right-to-work laws have been positive.
“We have seen in other states, like Tennessee and Indiana, where union leadership actually has to start producing and providing better customer service because all of a sudden they have to compete for their membership,” Johnson said. “You’re essentially introducing free-market principles into the union space, where union leadership has to compete for membership and provide quality service.”