House members held a committee hearing on five right-to-work House bills on Tuesday and a Senate bill on Wednesday – just days after the beginning of session. Right-to-work, supported by Associated Industries of Missouri, would give workers a choice of joining a union and paying for union representation or not. No employee could be denied employment if they refused to join a union, even in “union shops.”
“You still get to be part of the union, unions still exist. Of all of the 27 states that have right to work, unions still exist” said Representative Holly Rehder, sponsor of House Bill 91. “The change is simple; the union will now have to provide a service worth paying for their members to want it. They are no longer guaranteed members regardless of service of value so they will have to work for them, just as the union member works for their paycheck”.
AIM President Ray McCarty testified on behalf of Associated Industries of Missouri to support enacting a right-to-work statute, but he did make one suggestion. The inclusion of a criminal penalty (a misdemeanor) could not be practically applied for businesses not operated by a person (Corporations, S Corporations, Partnerships, etc). McCarty suggested removing this provision. UPDATE: McCarty also testified in the Senate Committee on General Laws on Wednesday, supporting SB 19, sponsored by Senator Dan Brown. He also noted that, while still unsure of how the penalty provisions would apply to a business that did not comply, apparently at least 3 of 4 states he quickly researched (Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Indiana) all included a misdemeanor provision similar to those contained in the Missouri bills. As noted in his testimony in both hearings, Michigan did not include a criminal provision in their right-to-work statute.
Another notable testimonial was by State Treasurer Eric Schmitt, who says he supports right-to-work.
“I have sat in countless rooms with site selectors and I can tell you without exception that being a right to work state is at the very top of the list” he said. “The fact of the matter is that it’s on the list and we are in a fierce competition with other states for jobs” he said.
A Senate hearing was held Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, the House Committee advanced a committee substitute of HB 91.