How Labor Won The Right-To-Work Fight In Missouri

By on August 9, 2018

From Huffington Post:  Missouri voters resoundingly rejected the state’s new right-to-work statute by referendum Tuesday night, delivering a stinging rebuke to the GOP legislature that recently tried to implement the law. The vote on Proposition A wasn’t even close: The “no” crowd defeated the “yes” crowd by a 2-to-1 margin.

So how did unions pull off such a lopsided win in a red state dominated by GOP politics?

For starters, the pro-union side appears to have outspent the anti-union side.

With a rare opportunity to kill a law that would reduce union membership in the state, the labor-backed group We Are Missouri poured over $15 million into the campaign. The two largest groups on the other side of the issue, Freedom to Work and Missourians for Freedom to Work, spent a combined $3.2 million, according to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

But that was only one part of the story. A ballot measure like Proposition A plays to one of organized labor’s main strengths: ground game. And by most accounts, unions ran a relentless one.

Erin Schrimpf, a spokeswoman for We Are Missouri, which spearheaded the “no” campaign, shared some data on the group’s voter outreach. By election day, more than 2,000 volunteers had worked for the campaign, many of them union members. They knocked on over 800,000 doors and made nearly a million phone calls urging people to vote no on the proposition.

According to Schrimpf, the outreach probably played a role in the higher-than-expected turnout for an August primary.

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About Dede Hance