ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - The annual Labor Day Parade filled the streets of downtown St. Louis Monday morning. It was hosted by the Greater St. Louis Labor Council, and paid tribute to union laborers.
Thousands of unionized workers, from auto workers to carpenters and electricians proudly wore their logos and marched through downtown with flags, banners, and trucks. As they marched, the future of their local chapters was on their minds, since Right to Work could become law in Missouri.
“Working people need unions to keep wages up and to keep bills and laws passed that help working families and help keep safety standards strong so we can stay safe at work too,” said Mike Melson, a United Auto Workers member and General Motors employee.
Right to Work would no longer require workers to join unions, weakening the power of organized labor.
Missouri’s Right to Work bill was passed in May by Republicans at the end of the legislative session, but it was quickly vetoed by Governor Nixon.
On September 16, lawmakers have a chance to override the governor’s veto and make Right to Work state law.
“I worry about Right to Work coming to the state,” Melson said, “but just like thousands of workers at my plant, we’ve been calling our representatives, telling them how bad it would be for working families, and I’ll be honest with you, I think we’re going to win this fight again.”
News11 caught up with the governor before the parade. He and Attorney General Chris Koster served as parade marshals. Nixon said Right to Work would lower wages and make workplaces more dangerous.
“Thirty years I carried a laborer’s card to get me through college; it helped pay for that sweet cinnamon-colored Gremlin I got in the 70s. These wages make a difference and when you have safety in the workplace too, and healthcare and things of that nature, it makes for a stronger workforce.”
Nixon also feels confident that his veto of right to work will be sustained. A two-thirds majority in the state legislature would be needed to override his veto.