Friday, May 3, 2013

Right to work off the table in Missouri…for now

Great news out of Missouri. The spokesperson for Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles) said right-to-work-for-less legislation is dead for the year. Well, he didn’t use those words, exactly. He sounded kinda glum, probably because he’s one of the Missouri politicians who has pushed the corporate-backed measure.
Gov. Jay Nixon has said he’d veto any right-to-work legislation that came across his desk, so the Republican-dominated legislature decided to shelve it…for now. Here’s more from a CBS affiliate in St. Louis:
While a pro-business agenda has been fast-tracked by Missouri’s Republican-controlled General Assembly this session, one issue has been pushed to the sidelines.
An effort to let workers refuse to join or pay dues to a union appears to have stalled once again. The chance of what supporters often call “right to work” getting to the floor in either chamber appears slim.
The article also spotlights something that doesn’t get nearly enough attention in stories about this subject: that many businesses oppose right to work.
Emily Martin, president of Aschinger Electric, said she’d declined to join the Missouri Chamber of Commerce because of its support for right to work. Aschinger Electric is an electrical contracting firm based in St. Louis. She said her company has been unionized since it started.
“It’s a business decision as to whether I want to contract with organized labor,” Martin said. “In our work with our skilled trades, there are benefits to contracting with unions.”
She said the unions invest in training and provide a pool of skilled labor to draw on when the company needs to expand.
The Associated General Contractors of St. Louis also opposes the legislation. President Len Toenjes said the passage of such legislation would put members’ current union contracts at risk and could cost them millions and even force them to shut down.
“Many of our contractors have existing multi-year labor agreements,” Toenjes said. “In the short term there will be potential for a lot of out-of-state competition coming in. The potential would be to harm businesses that have been in St. Louis for decades.”