Is Right-To-Work right for Missouri?

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(KTVI)- Opponents of labor unions think they can get a so-called Right-To-Work measure on the Missouri ballot this year. If they do, Missourians will get to vote on whether to outlaw mandatory union membership in the Show-Me State.  Twenty-four states currently have Right-To-Work laws. Those laws say anyone who goes to work in any occupation where there is a labor union cannot be forced to join that union.

Supporters say Right To Work states have created more jobs than elsewhere. Missouri Republicans, led by House Speaker Tim Jones and Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, say Right-To-Work, or Freedom To Work, is a top priority. The Missouri Chamber Of Commerce is also supporting right to work.

Organized labor, of course, is opposed. Opponents say the plan lowers average wages. They also say it would help destroy labor unions and the gains they've made for workers.

Charles Jaco sits down with Bob Soutier, head of the St. Louis Labor Council, the umbrella group for organized labor in the metro area and Dr. Howard Wall, director of the John W. Hammond Institute for Free Enterprise at Lindenwood University.


  • lamz633

    Right to work will be bad for Missouri. Republicans want it because these fat cats want to pay lower wages. States with RTW have lower wages. I will gladly work against this if its on he ballot and I am not a Union worker.

    • t

      Im not left or right, but there are more Millionaire democrats than republicans. Wake up and see that they both dont care about you at all

      • ByeByeToTheRite

        More millionaire Democrats than Republicans? Where did you hear that, the rural VFW hall? Just so full of it! And yes, perhaps neither cares that much, but Democrats care MORE because they know the way to make money and prosper is to make sure ALL people make money and prosper, Republicans have an elitist attitude that the rich can get rich on their own without us and that is so pathetically naive and pompous as to be completely without credibility. So, you choose. Stick up for yourself, or stick up for the rich Republican, and you lose.

  • Susan Kaveny

    It’s the right to work for lower wages, with longer hours and fewer benefits. It has nothing to do with your right to work and everything to do with your right to pay for foodstamps and medicaid for people who can’t afford to live but have jobs and work.

  • Robert

    I support right to work. All unions do is create greedy workers that inevitably cause businesses to die, like Hostess. Then they re-opened, non-unionized.

    • JJ

      Hostess didn’t close because of the union’s. Do some research before you just throw statements out there. Hostess closed because of bad business practices, the fact that sales were down 42% due to them using hmo in almost all their products and people eating healthier. Every one, even McDonalds offers a healthy menu now, its adapt to survive or fail. They didn’t and couldn’t change with the times.

    • Jenni Lovsey

      So what you’re saying is you support the right to work for less because you say that workers are greedy. It’s not the workers that are greedy, it is the corporate scum who are getting billions in corporate welfare and still cheat employees out of money that are greedy.

  • Donna

    I think most of you do not know what you are talking about, If the unions had not come in many years ago we would not have the wages we have now, since our society is changing no body sticks together any more unions can’t do it all . ask someone that worked in the coal mines , I’m sure they could share some gruesome stories for you. Younger generations are spoiled and do not know what life was like in the 30’s and 40’s I wouldn’t want it to back to that time, do some research.

  • ByeByeToTheRite

    Freedom to work? We have that already.

    What we still need is the freedom to share in our prosperity, for all workers.

    Right-to-work is simply “Right-To-Work-For-Less” or the “Right-To-Make-The-Rich-Richer-Off-The-Worker’s-Backs”.

    Funny, those Republicans never want to put POPULAR issues on the ballot that would pass, like legalizing pot or banning puppy mills. Instead, “there they go again” with their flaming extremist right-wing anti-worker, pro-corporate-ripoff agenda!

    Oh, if it DOES pass, will they immediately pass a law to NEGATE the will of the people and vote it down, as they did with the Puppy Mill bill that passed by 2-1? Or if it loses, will they pass it themselves anyway, like they did with conceal carry?

    In other words, since when do Republicans give one rat’s behind what the majority of people think? Surely hasn’t happened in my lifetime!

    The reality is that, even if you are NOT union, as I am not, we workers all still benefit from the battles unions have won over the years.

    Yea, there are a FEW too-powerful, overpaid unions, but they’re almost all military or government related, living on the taxpayer welfare dime: Boeing military contractor machinists, and police and military personnel – WAY overpaid, but we taxpayers flip the bill, so they don’t care. MOST unions are workers fighting hard to make a living, and they have a RIGHT to unionize.

    P.S. Hostess is a great example – the company killed the union, now the market is killing Hostess – they are dying a slow death, and have you tried their new product? Sloppily made, poorly packages – you can tell it’s now minimum wage workers making them! And they’re tanking. Good riddence, adios, hope the greedy anti-union owners lose their shirts.

  • Thomas Mossinghoff

    It’s not unions that are the bullies anymore it’s the Republicans and big corporations that are the corrupt now-a-days. Yes people are right the times have changed

  • Craig Pope

    I agree that unions have done a lot over the years to represent the working class and provide better pay and safer working environments. Today’s climate is somewhat of their own making. They have, in many ways, become the power-hungry evil they were created to protect us from. We need REAL representation…from unions AND our government representatives. No one truly represents the interests of America’s middle-class anymore and we suffer as a result.

  • Dean B (@hdcowboy)

    I agree with Craig, Unions have become the power hungry evil from which they were created to protect people.

    A union will coerce a company to play by it’s rules or suffer dire consequences. How is that different or better than a company doing the same to an employee?

    The lower wage argument is a farce. It stems from southern right-to-work states paying lower wages than northern union states. They are economically different places with the northern states having a much higher cost of living. Can you guess why? Perhaps years of inflation driven by greedy unions that drive pay and benefits up to a point it affects local and state economies?

    Unions need victims to survive. All of this “hate the corporations and billionaires” speak is their narrative. They want you to believe you’re a victim who needs them to have a good paying job with benefits. In fact, if you consider costs related to the union itself and the inflexibility of the workforce, a union strangles money from both workers and the company until one or both suffer. They result in fewer jobs, capped wages and reduced growth opportunities for individuals.

    JJ: You make a good point on Hostess needed to adapt to survive in a changing market. But how is that even possible when the union contract doesn’t allow bread to be delivered on the same truck as snack cakes to the same locations?

  • Joe b

    For those of you who think unions are bad and are for right to work, I can only assume you are uneducated about the matter. Look at it this way. I have spent many days working on homes that are very upscale. Building homes I know I could never afford on a union scale wage. I’m trained, certified and have lots of schooling and certifications all of which were provided by the union. I risk my life and my health every day to build dream houses for the rich or upscale only to come home to my very modest home and struggle to support my family. So sit in your office reading your article about hostess and and spit some more uneducated nonsense about how union workers are greedy. When you build your retirement home ask for the non schooled non union workers so you that way you can save a few pennies. Or maybe you can do it yourself….my point is carpenters are way underpayed and over worked. Eliminate the union in Missouri and wages will drop, jobs will be lost and the quality of work will drop.

    • Donna

      I totally agree with you 100%,so many people do not understand what is going on, if people could just look a little deeper and realize what all is at stake with the “Right to work ” laws. Come on people get your nose out of your cell phone and lap tops and listen to what our politicians are doing with our lives.

      • Thomas Mossinghoff

        If hostess is the only thing people can come up with for their argument to support Right To Work they really have no leg to stand on. They read the story on hostess but not about how greedy the CEO’s at hostess where in negotiating their contract.if it where not fot the unionized employees that supply their work force that made them all their money for years that they where in business. You have to remember they are the ones who shut their doors not the union employees.

  • Mike

    Unions had an important place in America, but that time has passed. OSHA, NLRB, and many other entities now protect workers rights.

    If unions are so great and they provide better wages and benefits for their workers, then why when given the choice, do union works opt to not pay dues to the union and thus bankrupt their own beloved union?

    Right to work states offer only one more option #3
    1 join union pay union dues
    2 don’t join union pay union dues
    3 don’t join union don’t pay union dues

    What are unions afraid of ?? If they provide such a great service workers should be glad to pay dues for their efforts in negotiations for higher wages and benefits BUT this does not happen ……. They chose #3 every time

    • Thomas Mossinghoff

      What makes going to college any better. All a union is representing are a skilled work force just like college preps their students to be skilled for the degrees they hope to achieve just the difference is I get paid to go to school while college students have to pay out of their own pocket for their education. Let me think about it, ok I did i’m joining the union. Hehehehe

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