A battle between labor and business interests is heating up after a judge threw out language in a document being used to collect signatures for a public vote.
A Cole County circuit court judge ruled Thursday that the language of a ballot initiative seeking to overturn Missouri’s “right to work” law is unfair and insufficient.
The controversial new law bans union dues as a condition of employment, a move Missouri Republicans say will create jobs and lure businesses to the state. Unions like the Missouri AFL-CIO say the law is anti-worker and have turned to the voter referendum process to overturn it.
The AFL-CIO hopes to put the law in front of voters, a seldom-used tactic that will require them to collect an estimated 90,000 signatures before the new law takes effect on Aug. 28.
Supporters of the labor reform, backed by the National Right to Work Foundation, have sought to scuttle the union’s efforts in the courts. They argue the initiatives are riddled with grammatical errors and could confuse voters who don’t realize they’re overturning an existing law.
The ruling calls into question signatures collected for the initiative so far. With the August deadline looming, Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis vowed to challenge the decision, saying the union would continue to collect signatures during the appeal process.