Politics

Missouri Governor Vetoes Right-To-Work Legislation

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Missouri’s Democratic Governor Jay Nixon has vetoed legislation that would have enacted  Right-to-Work laws, which would have prevented workplace contracts that require all employees— even those who aren’t unionized — to pay union fees.

Nixon called the legislation "big-government overreach.”

"This extreme measure would take our state backward, squeeze the middle-class, lower wages for Missouri families, and subject businesses to criminal and unlimited civil liability," he said in a statement. "Right to work is wrong for Missouri, it's wrong for the middle-class and it must never become the law of the Show-Me State."

It’s unclear if the majority Republican legislature would try to override the veto.

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Supporters claimed the legislation, which would have made violating the would-be law a misdemeanor punishable by up to 15 days in jail and a fine of up to $300, would make the state more attractive to businesses. However, research hasn’t proved that it has a direct impact on making a state more employer friendly. In the past 24 months, “employment grew by 4.6 percent in states with right-to-work laws and only 3.7 percent in states without those laws,” according to David Wessel, the director of the Hutchins Center at the Brookings Institution. He added that the difference could be due to other factors.

“Missouri is at an economic disadvantage that must be reversed," Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said in a statement. "Missouri has a well-trained workforce and great resources, but we have been told time and again by site-selection consultants that companies pass over non-right-to-work states, no matter their qualifications."

Even if Missouri’s legislature does seek to override Nixon’s veto, the measure struggled to pass and when it did it was 17 votes short of what's needed to required to override the governor.

Sources: KCTV5, NPR Image via Bernard Pollack/Flickr