Hot-Button Prop A Issue On Aug. 7 Missouri Ballot
Often called "right-to-work," labor unions dub proposition "right-to-work for less"
July 11, 2018
When it comes to ballot issues in the upcoming Aug. 7 election, all the action and the big money is on Prop A. Often called the state right-to-work issue, labor unions have dubbed it the "right-to-work for less" propositon.
In right-to-work states, such as Kansas, employees in union shops can opt out of paying dues for the cost of being represented. Union supporters argue that this option is available now in Missouri. They say the measure is really about destroying unions in workplaces and hobbling unions as a political force both in the state and nationally.
As with many hot-button issues, the politics on Prop A are polarized. Most Republican state legislators back the measure, while lawmakers on the Democratic side are outspoken in their opposition to the Aug. 7 ballot issue. Republican lawmakers got the issue on the August ballot this past session.
"I feel pretty confident that we are going to beat Prop A," said Doug Beck, D-Affton, who is actively campaigning against it. "Workers did not ask for this. This is strictly a creation of billionaires and companies that just want to pay their workers less money in this state.
"There are companies and businesses that do actually want Prop A defeated," added Beck. "You can talk to restaurant owners, for example, and they know they will lose business if workers have less money in their pocket. They won't go out to eat, if this thing gets approved on Aug. 7 and their wages get cut."
David Gregory, R-Sunset Hills, said he supports a "yes" vote on Prop A because it will make Missouri a more attractive state to locate businesses.
"Every state surrounding Missouri, with the exception of Illinois, now has freedom to work," said Gregory. "We can't afford to be losing jobs and opportunities in my district and across our state because we do not offer these worker protections.
"And Prop A would make our state more competitive with surrounding states that have freedom to work laws," Gregory added.
Unlike Beck, Gregory said he believes Prop A would lead to higher wages for Missouri workers, more job growth in both urban and rural areas, and more state GDP growth.
"Also, when workers have a choice to join a union, instead of being forced to join a union, it will benefit workers by making union leaders more accountable," said Gregory. "They will be more accountable to the workers who choose union membership. To increase membership, unions should work to earn and maintain members."
Gregory is echoed by Bob Onder, R-St. Charles, who argues that Prop A simply echoes a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding public-sector union workers. The high court ruled that unions cannot require public-sector workers to pay a union fee as a condition of employment.
Beck said Prop A will simply deny workers any voice on pay and conditions in the workplace. He said it is a step backward in time to an era of low pay, long hours and sweat shop conditions.
"Prop A is an ideological kind of thing," said Beck. "It's for a select few like David Humphries, who owns TAMKO shingles, and who's written a load of checks for tens of thousands of dollars to Republican legislators in order to get Prop A on the ballot and to get it passed.
"It looks like classic 'pay to play.' It's not pretty," said Beck. "Prop A has to be defeated and defeated soundly. A loud message needs to be sent that employees in Missouri never asked for this — it did not originate with them and they don't want it."
Millions of dollars has been poured into Prop A on both sides of the issue. Most of those dollars have gone to television advertising. Both sides have made accusations regarding unaccountable and hard-to-trace "dark money" being used in the Prop A fight.