When Missourians took to the polls yesterday, one of the races on the ballot was Proposition A. Now that the results are in, it became clear that Proposition A was defeated, giving a huge win to unions in the state.
Here is what that means for workers’ compensation in the state.
The Path of Proposition A to the Polls
Proposition A would have turned Missouri into the 28th “Right to Work” state. If the Proposition passed, it would have ratified Senate Bill 19, the law that the Missouri Legislature passed and then-Governor Greitens signed last year. This law would have prohibited the payment of union dues as a condition for employment.
Right to Work laws like these are designed to strip unions of their funding, further tilting the power in the workplace towards companies and employers. Without a strong union to deal with, employers can slowly strip workers of their rights.
Immediately after Senate Bill 19 passed, though, a grassroots response gathered enough signatures to put the law to a popular vote. Despite legal action to prevent it, this effort resulted in Proposition A.
Proposition A Soundly Defeated in Missouri
Yesterday, Missourians across the state voted on Proposition A. The results were conclusive and emphatic: 67% voted against making Missouri a Right to Work state.
Vote Fights Off Hemorrhaging Workers’ Rights
The strongly pro-worker outcome of Proposition A in the polls is a strong sign that the pro-business attitude that has dominated Missouri politics for the past decade is on the wane.
While this change is better late than never, it has come very late for struggling workers in Missouri. Employee rights have been eroded at a disturbingly quick pace over the past couple of years. These rollbacks have come at both the state and federal level.
In the states surrounding Missouri, all of them except Illinois have enacted Right to Work laws, crippling the power of unions in the state.
On the federal level, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has seen budget and workforce cuts so severe that it can barely function. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision this year, Janus v. AFSCME, which essentially forced Right to Work requirements on all public employees. The rationale for this decision—that it was required by the First Amendment—is weak on all counts.
Defeating Proposition A is a strong statement on workers’ rights that could be seen as a watershed moment in the workers’ rights movement.
St. Joseph Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
Protecting unions has a huge impact on the future of workers’ compensation because unions are the strongest advocates for these laws. Keeping them funded to continue to represent workers in these crucial discussions is the best way to keep workers’ compensation laws healthy enough to protect workers who have been hurt on the job.