Gov. Eric Greitens signed a bill Thursday which moves the date of the state's right-to-work referendum to the Aug. 7 primary election.
Lawmakers passed a resolution last week in the waning hours of the 2018 legislative session to move the vote from November to August. Greitens said in a news release that right to work will help the state's economy grow.
"Missouri is open for business," Greitens said. "With strong conservative reforms like Freedom to Work, we've been able to help create more jobs and higher pay."
Greitens signed a right-to-work law into effect last year. That bill allows unions to continue representing workers but provides employees the ability to opt out of paying union dues. After Greitens signed the bill, unions quickly began circulating referendum petitions seeking to repeal the law through the ballot box.
The law never took effect because union-backed right-to-work opponents in August submitted more than 310,000 signatures to Secretary of State Jay Aschroft's office to force a referendum.
Missouri Proposition A asks voters if they want to adopt last year's bill as is or reject it. A "yes" vote means the law goes into effect, while a "no" vote means it does not. If more than 50 percent vote "no," Senate Bill 19 would be repealed.
Union groups wanted the measure to be placed on November's general election ballot because voter turnout is usually higher than during the August primary. Backers of the law's repeal contend the referendum petition that placed the law on the ballot told the public the referendum would be held during November's election.
"Now that politicians have moved Proposition A to the August ballot, we look forward to educating Missouri voters about how Proposition A fails to create jobs and forces workers to accept lower pay," We Are Missouri, which is backing the campaign to repeal Senate Bill 19, stated in a news release. "We are confident that come August 7, Missourians will protect their pay by voting no on Proposition A."