JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers have sent the state's new Republican governor a bill that would ban mandatory union fees.
House members on Thursday took a final vote on the so-called right-to-work bill.
Gov. Eric Greitens has promised to sign the bill. His Democratic predecessor, Gov. Jay Nixon, vetoed right to work in 2015.
If Greitens signs the bill, Missouri will become the 28th right-to-work state.
Seven of the eight states that surround Missouri already have right-to-work laws, including Kentucky where it passed last month. New Hampshire lawmakers are considering a similar proposal.
Reactions from politicians and organizations across the state has been mixed.
"Missouri has lagged in job creation and economic growth. Today we took a big step toward turning that around," said State Senator Bob Onder (R-St. Charles County).
He added, "Right to Work will really send a signal to all of our country that Missouri is open for business, That we're open to opportunity, economic development, and economic freedom."
"We believe this is an overreach by government, to go after working people," said Jeff Aboussie, a labor lobbyist for the Operating Engineers Union for the state of Missouri.
"The uncertainty is there and [the union members] have no idea what's coming or what to expect or how its going to change their lives and their families lives."
Statement from the Missouri Chamber:
“The Missouri Chamber has worked for decades to bring this freedom to Missouri workers and this economic development tool to our state,” said Dan Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “It is exciting to finally be this close to making it law in Missouri. We applaud lawmakers for their commitment to protecting Missouri jobs and Missouri families. It’s a fact, right-to-work laws grow jobs and increase opportunities and economic growth.”
Statement from SEIU Local 1 member and SLU professor Jameson Ramirez:
“We hope Governor Greitens shows that he is truly fighting for the working people of Missouri and vetoes this harmful bill. If not, we’ll know he caved to the special interests, billionaire donors and big corporations that bankrolled his campaign.”
Statement from Americans for Prosperity:
“We applaud the lawmakers in both chambers who voted for right-to-work and stood up for all Missouri workers. Right-to-work guarantees a basic freedom – the freedom to work without mandatory union membership. No one should be fired from a job they love – in a place their skills are wanted – simply for refusing to pay a union. At long last workers in Missouri have been granted the basic freedom to work without fear of being fired for not paying a union."
Statement from the National Federation of Independent Business:
“Seven of the eight states touching Missouri already have right-to-work legislation on the books. Becoming a right-to-work state will immediately make us more competitive regionally and nationally. Employers look at a state’s right-to-work status when deciding where to locate or expand. Becoming a right-to-work state, and becoming more competitive, would create more opportunities for small, family businesses."
Statement from Missouri Rising:
"This is an exciting day for Missourians looking for work, and for the state’s economic climate, which has fallen behind our neighbors in recent years."
Senate Leader Ron Richard, a Republican from Joplin:
“Right to Work gives Missouri the ability to encourage other businesses to move to the state. We aren’t just fighting for more jobs. We are fighting just to be on the list of consideration. Right to Work, combined with our other economic development measures we plan to pass this session, will help make Missouri more attractive to investments. I am confident after the long hours working on the legislation the governor will sign it."
Bill Sponsor, Republican Sen. Dan Brown of Rolla
“Right to Work is the single biggest policy that can help protect workers’ freedom to choose whether a union works for them. With the governor’s signature, Missouri will become the 28th Right to Work state. I want to thank my colleagues for helping me accomplish this significant goal.”
Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, a Republican from Jefferson City
“Since the beginning of session, we have talked about making Missouri more attractive to businesses. Right to Work is an important economic tool that we can use to entice businesses to move and stay here in the Show-Me State. Today was a big win for the future of Missouri’s economic growth.”
Missouri Healthcare Workers
Home care, nursing home, and hospital workers, members of SEIU Healthcare Missouri, condemned the Missouri General Assembly today for sending so-called 'right to work' legislation to the Governor’s desk despite bipartisan opposition.
“If Governor Greitens signs this bill, workers across the state will have a harder time making ends meet for their families," said Earlene Davis, a nursing home worker. "Extreme politicians pushed these anti-worker attacks for their CEO and special-interest friends who were looking to drive down wages. It's just plain wrong."
"Missouri workers deserve fair wages and a safe place to go to work. Unions help make that happen and bad bills like this threaten workers everywhere,"said said Caprice Nevils, SEIU Healthcare Missouri Executive Board Member and Care Partner at St. Louis University Hospital. “Missouri workers know that “right to work” is wrong for Missouri, but politicians in Jefferson City put political attacks over people.”
House speaker Todd Richardson, a Republican from Poplar Bluff.
“As Missouri competes for the jobs of today and tomorrow, Right-to-Work will put us on a level playing field with the many other states that have already reaped the benefits of worker freedom laws. Right-to-Work will help us attract more job creators to our state, and it will promote healthy wage growth so that Missourians have the kind of family-supporting jobs they need and deserve. I want to thank Rep. Rehder and everyone who has worked so hard over the years to bring this issue across the finish line. We’re now just a signature from the governor away from making Missouri the nation’s 28th Right-to-Work state, and a place that job creators will seriously consider when they look to relocate or expand.”
REp. Holly Rehder, a Republican from Sikeston:
“I want to thank Speaker Richardson and Governor Greitens for making this legislation a priority and finally giving us the opportunity to position Missouri for healthier economic development and job growth. Right-to-Work simply ensures workers have the freedom to decide whether to join a union, but this simple choice will also send a strong message that Missouri is open for business.”