A petition to place the state's new so-called "right to work" law on next November's statewide ballot has been delivered to the Capitol.
The group We Are Missouri delivered the petition with 310,567 signatures, which is nearly three times the required 107,510 signatures needed to trigger a statewide vote. The 57,277-page petition included signatures from all 114 Missouri counties.
Less than a month after taking office, Governor Eric Greitens signed SB 19, which made Missouri the 28th state to ban mandatory union fees. Passing "right to work" legislation was one of his main campaign topics during last year's gubernatorial race.
“Right to work is a simple and a straight-forward measure. What right to work simply says is every worker in the state of Missouri has a choice, to decide for themselves, whether or not they want to join a union. And if they choose not to join — they can’t be forced out of their job,” Greitens said at the time.
Opponents say the law aims to weaken unions and could lead to lower wages.
“Extreme politicians and dark money interests may not like it but the facts are the facts. Workers in Right to Work states make $681 dollars less per month than workers in non-Right to Work states and the chances of being killed on the job is 49% higher in Right to Work states,” said Quiema Spencer, a master pipefitter from Kansas City.
The petition will now be reviewed by the Secretary of State's office and local election authorities before it becomes certified for the November 2018 ballot. If the petition isn't certified, the new law will take effect on August 28.
We Are Missouri, the group behind the petition, is a statewide bipartisan coalition of union and non-union workers who united for the goal of repealing SB 19.