Unions draw outside support ahead of ‘right-to-work’ vote

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision that weakened public-sector unions across the country, labor in Missouri faces a challenge to its power in private-sector workplaces with Tuesday’s vote over the state’s so-called “right-to-work” law.

The law, which would ban mandatory collection of union dues, was passed by the Republican-controlled Missouri Legislature and signed by former Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, in 2017. But an initiative petition led to the law being suspended before it could be enacted. On Tuesday, voters will decide its fate when they vote on Proposition A.

The issue continues to attract considerable attention and resources from outside the state — especially on the side opposing right to work, the Associated Press reports. Heading into the campaign’s final week, a labor-led group opposing the law had spent more than $15 million, more than three times as much as supporters had spent.

Some opponents of the law are hoping for more than just a win on Tuesday; they want an emphatic victory that will make Gov. Mike Parson and state lawmakers take notice, St. Louis Public Radio reports. A decisive defeat of the law might make the state’s Republicans less likely to push a right-to-work measure in 2019, some believe.

A vote in favor of Proposition A would make Missouri the country’s 28th state to adopt right-to-work laws. Wages in those states average 3.1 percent less than in other states, after taking other workforce differences into account, according to Economic Policy Institute, which opposes right-to-work laws.

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