MISSOURI – A republican bill to move the statewide vote on the new right to work law to August has some union members worried, saying it’s a political move trying to make it easier for the law to stay in place.
The state of Missouri became the 28th state with a right to work law in February when Governor Eric Greitens signed it into law. But, a petition that garnered thousands of signatures allowed for the law to go up for a vote on the November ballot.
An auto worker at General Motors in Wentzville, Kim Cook-Bell, said the law could hurt hard working families.
"I'm worried about that,” she said.
Cook-Bell, a member of United Auto Workers, believes right to work will result in lower wages and fewer protections.
"It's not going to help our families, it's not going to help our communities and it's not going to help the state of Missouri,” she said.
A year ago, Governor Greitens called right to work a “victory” for Missouri “especially for those families looking for jobs.”
Right to work is a law that says workers can’t be forced to join a union for a job in Missouri. It’s a law that says unions cannot require employees to pay dues.
If you chose not to pay dues, you must be treated as if you are a dues paying member and gain access to all the same benefits and services.
Governor Greitens and other legislators touted the law as a job creator. Opponents look at it as somewhat of a job killer. A law they said would weaken unions and lower wages.
"We have family members that are out there making less wages than we did 20 years ago."
Cook-Bell said the bill that wants voters to cast their ballots sooner rather than later is only being introduced because voter turnout is historically less in August than it is in November. And that has her worried.
"They're trying to trick us,” she said. “They're trying to force that on Missourians and that's a concern."
We reached out to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, but did not hear back. The bill has been sent committee but a hearing has yet to be scheduled.