‘Right-to-work’: Here’s what you need to know

Despite vehement opposition from labor unions and Democrats, Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, has said he plans to sign controversial “right-to-work” legislation making its way through the Missouri Legislature.

The House has taken up a version of the bill already passed by the Senate. The measure could be heard on the House floor as early as Thursday.

As the bill inches closer to Greitens’ desk, here’s the decades-long political battle, explained:

What does “right-to-work” mean? “Right to work” is a shorthand for laws throughout the country that prohibit labor unions from requiring workers to pay dues as a condition of employment.

Does the law actually create jobs? That’s not clear. Some studies point to positive effects on states’ economies and wages. Others find little to no impact. Economists attribute that uncertainty to a wide-ranging number of factors that influence job growth — it’s difficult to say whether one policy is responsible for strengthening a state’s economy.

I’m in a union. Will anything change for me? That depends on what type of union you’re in. If dues in your union are already voluntary, this legislation won’t affect you. If you’re under a “union shop” or “agency shop” and you have to pay dues or fees to a union, in time, you will no longer have to — but it’s unclear when that would happen.

What are the next steps? Though both chambers have weighed in, there are a few more steps the measure has to take before it makes its way to Greitens’ desk. For now, it looks like the House is taking up the Senate’s version of the bill for debate.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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