Dear Mr. Editor:

I feel that defeating Proposition A is important to Missouri, but especially to the families that depend on wages earned for skilled and professional services. Voting NO, on Proposition A is to overturn the contested legislation, Senate Bill 19, which would enact a right-to-work law to mandate that no person can be required to pay dues to a labor union or join a labor union as a condition of employment.

  • Some of the talking points that I have read leads me to VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION A. Some points of interest are as follows:
  • While supporters of Proposition A claim it will benefit working people, the reality is that it will take away choices from Missourians. The Supreme Court already has ruled that workers don’t have to join a union if they choose not to. The court also has ruled that working people have the freedom to organize and join together to bargain for a better return on work.
  • Nine of the 10 states with the highest poverty in this country are right-to-work states. CEOs make more in right-to-work states including their bonuses and their stock dividends.
  • In right-to-work states, CEOs make 361 times more than the average worker. That does not a build the middle class or lead to a healthy economy for Missouri.
  • The median household income is $8,700 lower in right-to-work states.
  • Proposition A will not create jobs. Missouri has the same unemployment rate, 3.8%, as neighboring states with similar economic conditions. Right to work hasn’t increased jobs for these states, but it has led to lowering wages and failure to create jobs. Laws in these states that are similar to Proposition A leave working people less likely to have benefits such as employer-sponsored health care.
  • Proposition A will weaken unions. Those in favor of Proposition A claim to be interested in helping working people, but the reality is that right to work laws such as Proposition A are designed explicitly to weaken unions so that working people have less of a voice in the workplace.

What many do not understand is that the prevailing wage for non-union members includes the “fringe benefits” as part of the salaries of workers. Many workers who are paid the prevailing wage are not provided benefits. Their fringe benefits are included in the prevailing wage. This means countless workers are responsible for their expenses while working away from home, their own health care and retirement and they are not paid time away from their jobs (such as sick leave, vacation pay, etc.). Also, many of these workers depend on good weather to complete their trades, so their ability to earn a good income is often less than 12 months. Right to work will not guarantee that employers provide these benefits, but it will guarantee that the wages for skilled workers will be less.

Reducing salaries of skilled/professional workers who the public depends on to complete important public projects such as roads, bridges, and buildings could negatively impact the overall quality and safety of projects paid for by the taxpayers. How you might ask? If wages do not reflect the skills of workers, industries may resort to using laborers that are inexperienced or have limited skills. This in turn could negatively affect the quality and timely completion of projects paid with our tax dollars. Do you want to know that the labor force completing these projects are professional and have pride in their work products? When people are paid a good working wage to produce quality products, everyone wins.

If we do not VOTE NO on Proposition A, many Missouri workers may be faced with a choice to leave their fields of expertise to look for jobs/careers in other fields and/or in other states that provide competitive salaries for quality work. Earning good working wages in Missouri brings money to our home communities and local businesses.

Rhonda McBee