In a little under a month, Missouri residents will go to the polls to vote on Proposition A. If enough people vote “yes” and Proposition A passes, the recently-enacted “Right to Work” law would be upheld. This would prohibit the practice of requiring labor union payments as a condition for employment.
Right to Work laws like those on the ballot in Proposition A are very close to the result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME. In fact, that decision is likely to have an important impact on the outcome of Proposition A, the future of Right to Work laws, and the future health of workers’ compensation in Missouri and elsewhere.
How Proposition A and the Supreme Court Decision are Similar
Proposition A deals with the highly contested law that recently passed in Missouri that made the state a Right to Work state by prohibiting labor union dues as a condition of employment. These laws undercut unions by allowing workers to benefit from the union’s collective bargaining powers without paying for them.
The recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, Janus v. AFSCME, also dealt with a source of union funding. Janus prohibited unions from collecting agency fees from non-union workers in the public sector, allowing them to “free load” off the union’s collective bargaining powers.
Missouri’s Right to Work law and the Supreme Court decision Janus v. AFSCME, therefore, are two sides of the same coin: Both aim to hamstring unions by cutting a major source of their funding. This will keep unions from advocating on workers’ behalf, including when it comes to protecting workers’ compensation laws.
How Janus Will Impact Upcoming Proposition A Vote
Business owners and other people who want Missouri to become a Right to Work state will try to argue that the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus means that all workers—not just those in the public sector—have the right to refuse to pay for the benefits of a union’s collective bargaining power, even as they enjoy those benefits. This, of course, relies on the rationale that the Supreme Court used in the Janus case. However, as we will cover in next week’s workers’ compensation post, the Janus decision was poorly reasoned, at best.
To an extent, though, the Janus case partially accomplishes what Proposition A sets out to do. By prohibiting the collection of agency fees in the public sector, all that is left for a Right to Work law to do is prohibit them in the private sphere, too.
Workers’ Compensation in St. Joseph at the Smith Law Office
Recent polls suggest that Proposition A is unlikely to pass: According to the Missouri Times, 56% of respondents said they were planning to vote against the Right to Work bill.
While this is good news for Missouri workers, the unfortunate fact is that the Janus decision has already eroded much of the protection that unions can provide. This will be seen in the future on numerous fronts, including workers’ compensation, which will lead to fewer rights for workers who have suffered a personal injury while on the job.