Union workers rally in Jefferson City against ‘right-to-work’

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Hundreds of Missouri workers took the bus Wednesday to the Capitol to rail against a so-called right-to-work law.

The laws prohibit union membership and dues as a condition of employment.

When Gov. Eric Greitens was inaugurated last year, right-to-work was all the rage for Republicans. The legislature passed it and Greitens signed it in a matter of weeks. However, labor groups succeeded in getting enough signatures to put Prop A on the ballot. If they are successful, they will undo the GOP's work.

"Me working 35-years in the dairy business, I know that my pension has been guaranteed," said Rich Pickering, a retiree from St. Charles. "They've worked hard to protect us, we've always had good medical insurance. And it's the unions that did that for us."

The voices came from all over the state and into the halls of the Capitols in Jefferson City and Washington, voices clamoring with fear of lower wages, fewer rights, and fewer worker protections.

"It is a very simple principle: that men and women can join together and collectively have a voice in their wages and their benefits," said U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)

While workers bonded together, a right-to-work architect isn't worried.

"I am looking forward to getting it over with so that we don't have the uncertainty any longer," said State Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston).

Rehder is reminded of the millions of votes cast in 2016 for a Republican governor and a super-majority of GOP lawmakers.

"He [Eric Greitens] campaigned on right-to-work and he won," Rehder said. "And every single year union membership in Missouri decreases yet in RTW states it increases. Why is that? It's because they have more jobs coming in. So, more jobs for union members, more jobs for non-union members."

Millions of dollars are already flowing to groups on both sides of the issue.

Pickering, whose enjoying his union retirement benefits, has all summer to fight.

"The good salt of the Earth people are not going to allow that to happen to us," Pickering said. "We're just going to fight, fight to the end."

Prop A is on the November ballot currently, but lawmakers could vote before the session ends in May to put it on the August primary ballot.

A "Yes" vote enacts right-to-work, while a "No" vote repeals it.