For Immediate Release:
June 4, 2015
Contact: Diane Koestner
(573) 751-5713

Senator Brown Releases Statement Regarding the Governor's Veto of Right-to-Work Legislation

JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. Dan Brown, R-Rolla, released the following statement today (6-4) regarding the governor’s imminent veto of House Bill 116, legislation that would prohibit an employer from requiring a person to become a member of a labor organization as a condition or continuation of employment. Senator Brown handled the measure in the upper chamber and sponsored similar legislation this year and in previous sessions.

 “I am disappointed in the governor’s expected action of vetoing this year’s Right-to-Work legislation.  This is a letdown to the 6 percent of Missouri’s population that work in closed shops that are forced to join a union in order to support their families; no matter how little the union does for them. This veto is bad for the thousands of Missourians who would like to have a job but can’t find one because companies are failing to locate in Missouri due to the fact that many companies will only locate and/or expand in Right-to-Work states. 

The governor’s actions are detrimental to the entire state of Missouri, especially those whose livelihoods are suffering due to stagnant economic growth that has been brought on by a hostile business climate and doing business the same way. For decades, we have watched as Missouri continues to lose jobs, population, and revenue generated by both. However, the governor has chosen to side with big labor bosses at the peril of the working middle class who should fear their jobs leaving the state and those who are seeking employment and can’t find work because companies refuse to locate in non-Right-to-Work states. 

Recently, Volvo announced that it will build a new $500 million dollar facility in South Carolina. This facility will create 2,000 good-paying jobs and Missouri wasn’t even considered for the plant that will produce 100,000 cars annually. Carl’s, Jr., recently announced it is leaving St. Louis in order to find a location that is Right-to-Work. Instead of expanding in Missouri, Boeing chose South Carolina as the site to build a final assembly and delivery points for its 787 Dreamliner. How much worse do we let our economic situation get before we start doing business differently? 

In 2010, Missouri’s population shrank so drastically in the St. Louis area that we lost a congressional seat in redistricting. For decades, we have allowed union bosses to mandate that workers pay them their dues in order to work in closed shops and, with the governor’s actions today, we can expect more of the same. It would be interesting to know if there has EVER been a company that decided not to locate in Missouri because of the fear it might become Right-to-Work.   

In the converse, it would be interesting to know exactly how many companies have refused to locate and/or expand in Missouri because it is not Right-to-Work. Right-to-Work does not prevent unionization of workers. It simply says that you can’t force a worker to join and pay dues. In fact, in many states that have passed Right-to-Work, union membership has increased because it forces the unions to give its members their money’s worth in representation. 

Right-to-Work does not allow free riders. In states where Right-to-Work has passed, unions simply include language in their collectively bargained agreements that the agreement only applies to their members. Right-to-Work does not lower wages. Many Right-to-Work states have lower wages because the cost of living is so much lower in Right-to-Work states. Right-to-Work is a tool to attract business and create jobs. Without Right-to-Work, all other job creation legislation is a moot point. Right to Work is a liberty that allows people to work for a living and support their family without being forced to pay dues. 

It’s time to move pass the bumper sticker quotes against Right-to-Work and enact the single most important economic development legislation in our generation. Therefore, I would encourage the Missouri House of Representatives and my colleagues in the Senate to pass this legislation over the governor’s objections.”  

The General Assembly will convene for its annual veto session on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, pursuant to Missouri’s constitution.