Missouri’s Labor Victory Won’t Reverse the Decline of Unions

By on August 10, 2018

From The Atlantic:  On Tuesday night, as it became clear that voters in Missouri had—by a two-to-one margin—rejected a state law meant to reduce unions’ power, the president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, declared, “The defeat of this poisonous anti-worker legislation is a victory for all workers across the country.” He added, “Tonight is the latest act of working people changing a rigged system that for decades has been favoring corporations, the mega-wealthy, and the privileged few.”

The legislation in question was a law passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature last year and signed by the governor at the time, Eric Greitens, a Republican, which would have allowed employees in unionized private workplaces to opt out of belonging to a union and paying dues. Currently, unions in Missouri, as part of collective-bargaining agreements with employers, can require that an entire workplace be unionized. In those workplaces, even if someone isn’t keen to join the union, taking the job requires him to do so.

Missouri Republicans had hoped to bar that requirement, as 27 states have. Unions fiercely oppose such laws, partly on principle and partly because the laws represent an existential threat: Research has shown that when states have imposed such laws, known among supporters as right-to-work laws, union membership declines. So in Missouri, labor organizers collected enough signatures to put a measure on the state ballot, Proposition A, in order to put the issue to a vote. Then, according to The Wall Street Journal,they outraised their opponents five to one.

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