Missouri could become right-to-work state this legislative session

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KPLR) – Supporters of organized labor say it will only weaken a union’s ability to negotiate on behalf of its workers. Supporters of right-to-work legislation say it will create more jobs.

State Rep. Holly Rehder (R – Sikeston) pre-filed a bill in Jefferson City Thursday that would give union members the option of not paying union dues. She said businesses want to locate and expand in states with right-to-work legislation.

“One of the most important items about this bill is just giving us a more business-friendly climate in Missouri,” said Rehder.

But State Rep. Bob Burns (D – Affton) disagrees. He’s a former teamster and says workers will lose negotiating power if dues are voluntary.

“I don’t think these billionaires who are involved with right-to-work are doing it so they can raise wages. They’re doing it to lower wages,” he said.

Burns hopes the legislation will fail even though it appears to be headed for passage with a Republican majority and a Republican governor.