Missouri labor unions were successful in getting enough signatures to all but guarantee the state’s new “right-to-work” law won’t go into effect a week from now as Gov. Eric Greitens had planned.
But the real battle is just getting started. Come November 2018, voters around the state will determine whether to kill or keep the law, which bars unions and employers from requiring all workers in a bargaining unit to pay dues. But only 10 percent of Missouri workers are in a union, so both right to work supporters and critics will be targeting non-union voters over the next 14 months.
Missouri labor leaders are hoping to mimic Ohio, where voters overturned a right to work law in 2011.
And out-of-state money is pouring in. Through Monday, at least $900,000 had been donated this month to political action committees that support right to work, and labor groups saw hefty sums to help pay for the petition drive.
Even if unions win next year, it won’t be a permanent fix. Missouri lawmakers likely will pass another version.
If that happens, unions will have to persuade voters to put a ban against right to work in the state constitution, something the law’s supporters say they’re prepared to take on as well. Labor leaders have until May to collect and turn in signatures for that option ahead of the 2018 ballot.
Read more: St. Louis Public Radio