In his latest weekly column, Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, sings the praises of right to work legislation:
With Missouri’s unemployment rate at 9.4 percent, just doing the same old thing is not an option. We must be willing and ready to make fundamental change to Missouri’s policies to make our state competitive among our neighbors. There are too many dedicated, hard-working Missourians that do not have a job.
This session, we have been working to address several measures that are critical to improving our state’s economic environment. Fixes to workers’ compensation laws, repealing the corporate franchise tax, and restoring Missouri’s employment laws to be in line with the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 are a few of the measures that we have already discussed on the Senate floor. These bills are designed to make Missouri a more attractive place to locate and expand a business. Together, these measures make up a comprehensive approach to supporting job growth throughout the state.
This week, we discussed Senate Bill 1, another measure that would support job growth and attract employers to our state. Making Missouri a “Right to Work” state would prevent employees from being required to pay union dues as a condition of employment. It is a matter of free choice for workers, who should never be required to pay dues just to get or hold down a job. It is important to point out that the measure would not prevent anyone from joining or supporting a union—it would just make sure that employees have a choice in the matter.
As SB 1 has moved through the legislative process, there has been a great deal of debate and discussion. Statistics pointing to higher employment and population growth in “Right to Work” states show the impact the bill could have on our state. One of the most important points in support of the legislation was made when the bill was heard in a Senate committee. An individual that helps companies find sites to locate testified that fifty percent of manufacturers refuse to consider states that are not “Right to Work”. Those companies, which could provide job opportunities to out-of-work Missourians, are immediately ruling out our state because of our labor laws.
Making Missouri a “Right to Work” state would make us more competitive for quality jobs. Forcing employees to join union is a barrier to job growth, and it is time for Missouri to make this important change.