It has been nearly a year since we covered Missouri’s ongoing battle over its “right-to-work” law, which will have significant impact on the rights of workers in the state. It will also threaten the health of our workers’ compensation laws, as well.
Right-to-Work Bill Becomes Law
Back on February 6, 2017, Missouri’s state legislature passed a right-to-work law, which was then signed into law by Gov. Greitens.
The law would make it illegal for employers to require workers to pay union dues, and would also require unions to represent everyone at a workplace. The practical impact of this would be to crush unions by allowing workers to freeload—benefitting from union representation without paying union dues.
Voter Referendum to Attack Bill Begins
The law was supposed to go into effect in August, 2017, but it was quickly attacked by workers’ rights advocates. They gathered enough signatures to put the law to a public referendum, getting it on the ballot for the people of Missouri to vote on.
This referendum process was dealt a setback in court when a judge decided that there were grammatical ambiguities in the referendum summaries that voters would see on the ballot. However, that decision was overturned on appeal.
The referendum has since become Proposition A.
Date of Vote Changed
In May, 2018, the Missouri House of Representatives and the Missouri Senate voted, largely along party lines, to change the date of the referendum vote. The vote was originally set to be in the general election, in November, 2018. However, Republicans in the state legislature managed to move it up to the primary election, on August 7, 2018.
The change has many politicians crying foul, though unions and workers’ rights advocates are confident they can drum up enough support in the shortened time span.
How Does Proposition A Impact Workers’ Compensation?
Proposition A and the related “right-to-work” law might seem they are isolated to the issue of union membership. However, unions are the strongest and among the most reliable defenders of workers’ rights, of all kinds. Voting yes on Proposition A is a vote for the survival of the right-to-work law that was passed, last year. This is a vote for businesses who want to dismantle unions in Missouri.
By weakening unions, these pro-business interests will then take aim at policies that protect workers, knowing that they no longer have to worry about a union organizing a workers’ strike.
One of the likeliest targets is Missouri’s already weak workers’ compensation laws. Without unions to fight for these laws, pro-business interests will try to tighten them even further, leaving hurt workers to fend for themselves after a workplace injury.
St. Joseph Workers’ Compensation Attorney at the Smith Law Office
The workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers at the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph are closely watching the outcome of Proposition A, and understand the danger that a right-to-work law poses for the average Missouri worker.
If you have been hurt while on the job, call our law office at (816) 875-9373 or contact us online.