Lawmakers return to Jefferson City Wednesday.
Republicans hold power in both the House and the Senate, as well as the Governor’s office this year, and one of the first issues they are expected to tackle is Right to Work.
During his campaign, Governor-elect Eric Greitens said he would support such legislation.
In December, a Joplin-area lawmaker pre-filed a Right to Work bill for consideration. If it passes, workers would not have to join a union or pay union dues to get certain jobs.
Supporters said this will give workers a choice and make Missouri more business-friendly.
“I believe in transparency. I believe we need to have good organizations represent our workers in the field and the jobs they have,” said Republican State Representative Dean Plocher of Town and Country. “But at the same time, I think those workers should be allowed to elect to choose the organization, if they want to. And I think they should be able to see where their money is being spent when they give their dues.”
But union leaders said this will lower wages for all Missourians.
“We know there was a lot of promises made about right to work. So our main thing well do is we have other options after it passes,” said Pat White, President of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “In Ohio, they did a citizens veto where they overturned it. There’s options of putting it on the ballot as a referendum. We’re looking at all those options. We’re not just going to lay down and say – were finished.”
Democrats know they’re fighting an uphill battle this year.
Former State Representative and newly elected Democratic State Senator Jake Hummel of St. Louis said he expects his party to remain focused on things like transportation and infrastructure, public safety, and education.
“One of the things we’ve been working on for several years is trying to fully fund the school foundations formula,” Hummel said.
“Whether it’s a Republican in the Governor’s mansion or a Democrat, what we stand for is the party of education. And we would really like to fund our promise to Missouri schools.”
The legislative session begins mid-day on Wednesday.
Gov.-elect Greitens will be sworn into office next week. He said plans to expand on the specific details of his legislative priorities during State of the State address on Jan. 17.