JEFFERSON CITY—On Thursday, Republican legislators fulfilled a campaign promise to Missouri voters and sent Right to Work to the Governor’s desk. When Governor Greitens signs Senate Bill 19, Missouri will become the 28th state to give workers the freedom to opt out of paying union dues.
Currently, many Missouri workers do not have the option to choose whether or not they want to be part of a labor union. In forced union states like Missouri, workers must pay between $500 and $1000 per year as a condition of employment. This is unfair. Union dues should be earned, not forced.
Right to Work puts the worker in the driver’s seat. Unions must keep their members happy to maintain membership. A common misconception about Right to Work is that it weakens unions, but a recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that in 2015, unions in Right to Work states gained more members than in forced union states.
But Right to Work isn’t just a win for Missouri’s unionized workforce. It’s a win for all Missourians.
The number of businesses locating to Missouri has been declining. According to the Congressional Research Service, Right to Work states saw a 6.6% increase in employment between 2002 and 2012, while forced union states saw an increase of only 0.3%. Furthermore, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, nonfarm employment grew 28.9% in Right to Work states between 1998 and 2015 and only 17.5% in forced union states.
Between 2008 and 2014, Real Personal Income in Right to Work states grew by an average of 9.3% compared to 7.0% in forced union states, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the six Right to Work states bordering Missouri, Real Personal Income grew by 9.1% compared to 3.1% in the forced union states of Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri.
Right to Work has been shown time and time again to be a catalyst for economic growth and a tool for restoring worker freedom. It is imperative that our state does everything we can to improve our policies and keep Missouri moving forward, which is why we applaud the Missouri legislature for passing Right to Work and taking another step toward moving Missouri into a 21st century economy.