‘Right to work’ effort fails in Missouri House, will be top issue in 2016

From St. Louis Public Radio

Backers of “right to work” fell 13 votes short in the Missouri House, killing the most successful effort so far in the state to enact the law to curb union rights in the workplace.

The Missouri House voted 96-63 Wednesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill, which would have barred unions and employers from requiring all workers in a bargaining unit to pay dues or fees.

The House needed at least 109 votes, and leaders of both sides had privately expected the chamber to fall short. The vote kills the measure, a combined version of HB116 and HB569. As a result, the Senate didn’t act.

House Speaker Todd Richardson said later that he’ll work with the GOP caucus to see if a revised version of “right to work” that would be veto-proof can be crafted during the next legislative session that begins in January. Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, contended that he had the necessary 23 votes in the Senate for an override, if the measure had gotten through the House.

This year’s battle marked the first time that a “right to work” bill had passed the General Assembly. Missouri voters had rejected a ballot proposal in 1978. So far, 25 states have passed a “right to work” law.

Backers say their aim is to give workers more freedom and save their money, while critics say the effort is geared toward cutting wages and reducing labor’s political clout.

Pandemonium erupted in the House’s public galleries, which had been packed with activists on both sides, right after the vote. The seats, and the Capitol’s halls, soon emptied.

Backers of “right to work’’ said the vote will fire up their efforts to get a Republican elected as governor in 2016.

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