What do we do now that Missouri’s ‘right-to-work’ legislation has been signed into law?
Calls have been coming into Local Lodge 778 asking ‘What can we do?’” says Directing Business Representative, Joe Capra.
Early this month, newly-elected Republican Gov. Eric Greitens fulfilled his campaign promise to sign “right-to-work,” but almost before the ink dried, Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis fought back, filing a Referral Referendum petition that will, if signed by more than 140,000 – 160,000 registered voters, require a statewide vote in 2018 on the RTW law before it could take effect.
Additionally, Labor is considering a separate Initiated Constitutional Amendment Petition signature campaign on a proposed constitutional amendment that would prohibit the General Assembly from ever enacting “right-to-work” laws in the future.
THE DIFFERENCE IN PETITIONS
Two differences between the two efforts:
- A Referral Referendum requires five percent of signatures of the total vote in the last governor’s election in 6 of Missouri’s 8 congressional districts. If passed by the voters, RTW cannot be implemented, however, the issue can be brought up again in the next legislative session and passed.
- It is a rarely used process that, if it gets the required number of signatures, forces a statewide vote on it. Using this approach, citizens have rejected the legislature’s actions 24 of 26 times.
- An Initiated Constitutional Amendment requires eight percent of signatures of the total vote in the last governor’s election in 6 of Missouri’s 8 congressional districts. It bypasses lawmakers altogether; citizens propose the legislation and it goes directly to the voters for their approval.
If passed by the voters, it becomes part of Missouri’s constitution and can’t be brought up again by the legislature; to change the constitution would require a vote of the public.
REGISTER TO VOTE
“The number one thing to do right now is get registered to vote,” says DBR Joe Capra.
“Registration first then voting are the keys. You need to get everyone in your family of voting age registered to vote. Tell your friends, family and neighbors that if they aren’t registered, their signature on the petition is not valid to get RTW on the ballot. And if they’re not registered, they can’t vote to stop ‘right-to-work.’
“We need people to understand what ‘right-to-work’ can do to you and your family’s security, and we need to get people registered and out to vote.”
It’s important for union members to stay informed through the Missouri AFL-CIO, and also here on the Local Lodge 778 website.
We will have information distributed throughout the local union halls as well.
It is also important to maintain solidarity with your brothers and sisters in other unions both in the public and private sector.
“We have to maintain fellowship with each other,” Capra says. “They will try to cause a rift amongst us.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW
- Sign up to be a petition gatherer: Send your name, address, cell phone and email info to: IAMAW Local Lodge 778, 9404 Grandview Road, Kansas City, MO 64132 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Training will be provided for signature gatherers.
- Show up when the word goes out that we’re ready to begin. When and where will be announced.
- Spread the word to your family and friends about the upcoming campaign and ask them to sign-up to help. “This is not only going to affect union folks, this is going to affect everybody,” Capra says. “The facts are that yearly wages go down in ‘right-to-work’ states.”