With more than 91% of its workforce union free, Missouri is still one of those states that allow unions to have employees fired from their jobs for refusing to pay union dues. However, that could change.
According to Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, Missouri voters may soon get the chance to vote whether to give employees the right to decide for themselves whether or not to fund union bosses by putting so-called Right-to-Work legislation on the 2014 ballot.
Similar legislation has been stymied in the past in Missouri, partly because of opposition from some union-friendly Republicans and partly because of an expected veto by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.
"I believe we will pass right-to-work next year and bypass (Nixon) entirely by putting it on the referendum ballot for voters," Kinder publicly declared during the conference. His comments came during a how-to session highlighting the recent passage of a right-to-work law in the historically unionized state of Michigan.
When passed in 1935, the National Labor Relations Act gave unions the ability to negotiate so-called "union (income) security clauses" into union contracts that enable unions to have workers fired from their jobs if they refuse to pay union dues.
In 1947, however, Congress amended the NLRA to allow states to self-determine whether or not to force employees to pay unions by giving states the right to pass Right-to-Work laws.
- Note: State Right-to-Work laws do not apply to airline and railroad employees who are covered under the 1926 Railway Labor Act.
Since 1947, in the face of stiff union opposition, 24 states have chosen to honor their workers' right to decide for themselves whether or not to pay union dues--with Indiana and Michigan being the most recent.
Right-to-Work laws, however, are tenuous and, ultimately, dependent on who controls Congress since it is only one sentence--Section 14 (b) in the National Labor Relations Act--that gives states the right to determine whether Right-to-Work laws exist at all.
(b) [Agreements requiring union membership in violation of State law] Nothing in this Act [subchapter] shall be construed as authorizing the execution or application of agreements requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment in any State or Territory in which such execution or application is prohibited by State or Territorial law.
Since 1947, unions have pushed to end Right-to-Work laws. In 2010, for example, California Democrat Brad Sherman pushed a bill that would have made all 50 states forced-union states.
If Missouri voters do get the opportunity to vote to end forced unionism next year, there will still be 25 more states where unions can have employees fired for refusing to pay union dues. Using union dues and protests, union bosses, to be sure, will be opposing Right-to-Work laws every step of the way.
"Truth isn't mean. It's truth."
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)