Last Thursday, right-to-work passed the Missouri House. The bill, approved 91-64, makes union dues payments in the private-sector voluntary and now awaits a contentious political battle in the Senate.
The Columbia Missourian reports, Senate Democrat Gina Walsh, a retired union member, “would absolutely fight that bill… To me, that’s a bill that I’m willing to fall on my sword for.”
Another Democrat, Rep. Stephen Webber, made the trite and unfounded attack on right-to-work that it lowers worker standards.
However, the bill does nothing more nor less than make union dues payments optional. It does not reduce wages, decrease safety standards, or take away collective bargaining rights from workers.
Right-to-work is about worker choice. The fact is most workers never voted for the union that represents them (less than 10 percent of workers voted for the union that represents them). Although right-to-work laws do not grant workers the right to represent themselves or find other representation, at least, under right-to-work they do not have to pay for unwanted union services.
In addition to worker choice, economic benefits follow the passage of right-to-work. As the Competitive Enterprise Institute report, “An Interstate Analysis of Right to Work Laws,” finds, states with right-to-work experience greater economic growth.
According to the study, “Real total personal income grew by 165 percent in right-to-work states over a 31-year span, outpacing the national average of 123 percent growth.”
“The total estimated income loss in 2012 from the lack of RTW laws was an extraordinary $647.8 billion, or about $2,000 for every American. From 2000–2009, approximately 4.9 million people migrated from non-right-to-work states to those states with right-to-work laws. The overall effect of a right-to-work law increases economic-growth rates by 11.5 percentage points.”
In addition, “An Interstate Analysis of Right-to-Work” estimates the per capita income loss associated with not having a right-to-work law, among non-right-to-work states. In Missouri, workers lost an estimated $3,040 from not having a right-to-work law.
Despite the compelling evidence that right-to-work improves workers’ quality of life, Democrats will continue their efforts undercut the passage of the legislation that enhances worker choice and improves the economy.
Why would Democrat politicians oppose legislation that is win-win for workers and the economy? Unsurprisingly, in Missouri, the two most vocal politicians that are opponents of right-to-work, Stephen Webber and Gina Walsh, receive numerous campaign contributions from labor unions.
Stephen Webber labor union political contributions:
- AFSCME Missouri Kansas State Council 72, $13,325
- Friends of Labor, $4,825
- Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562, $2,325
- Food & Commercial Workers Local 655, $1,625
- United Transportation Union, $1,300
- Missouri State Teachers Association, $1,175
- Teamsters Local 688, $1,000
- And a number of other donations under $1000.
Gina Walsh labor union political contributions:
- Heat & Frost Insulators & Allied Workers Local 1, $19,325
- Electrical Workers Local 1, $12,325
- Eastern Missouri Laborers District Council, $5,925
- Missouri UNITE-HERE, $5,650
- Communication Workers District 6, $4,100
- Elevators Constructors Local 3, $3,575
- Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562, $3,475
- Sheet Metal Workers Local 36, $3,325
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, $2,625
- Food & Commerical Workers Local 655, $2,550
- Missouri AFL-CIO, $2,400
So, as Missouri Democrats bemoan that right-to-work “is about weakening the power of the middle class,” it is really about politicians looking out for the special interests of labor unions that heavily contribute to their campaigns and expect payback.