"Right-to-work" fight to resume in Jefferson City

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Missouri News Horizon
JEFFERSON CITY
, Mo. – As the 2012 state legislative session begins to take shape, a familiar labor fight is heading to the floor of the Senate.

Once again, State Senate Leader Robert Mayer, R-Dexter, has introduced a bill that would keep Missouri workers from being forced to join a union against their will. Mayer recently pre-filed a bill to be brought up during the next legislative session, which begins in January.

The so-called “right-to-work” issue was debated during the 2011 legislative session but failed to gain enough traction to pass both chambers. The proposal would give workers in Missouri the option to not join a union if the rest of their workplace chooses to unionize – preventing them from having to pay union dues or strike against their will.

Pro-business lawmakers and lobbyist have argued that current law is unfair to individual workers and makes Missouri less attractive when trying to court businesses from neighboring right-to-work states.

But labor groups contend that allowing individual workers to opt out weakens the stance of the union. They say right-to-work laws are unfair since they allow workers who opt out of the union to benefit from union actions that increase wages and benefits to all workers.