Senate committee hears right-to-work talk

Missouri voters rejected the idea more than 32 years ago.

But supporters say times have changed and Missouri is losing out on job opportunities because we’re not a right-to-work state.

“These bills raise the issue of a worker’s freedom to choose to join a union or not join a union,” said sponsor Sen. Luann Ridgeway, R-Smithville, who’s introduced two bills prohibiting employers from agreeing to contracts where employees would be required to pay dues or fees to labor organizations.

Local prosecutors or the attorney general’s office would be responsible for investigating any violations of the law.

One bill just changes the state law, while the other bill would send the issue to a statewide vote.

“We’re approaching a 10 percent unemployment rate ... we have to take another look at why (when) our surrounding states are much lower, as a general rule,” Ridgeway told the Senate’s General Laws Committee on Tuesday afternoon. “I propose that one reason is, Missouri is a forced-union state.”

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