Local Laborers Speak Out Against “Right-To-Work” Policy At Annual Parade

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Union workers in Springfield held their annual Labor Day picnic Monday, where politics were also on the plate.
The elections this fall will likely decide if Missouri is going to soon become the nation’s 27th right-to-work state.
Right-to-work prohibits union dues as a condition of employment, and the laborers KOLR10 News spoke with Monday fear Missouri will head in this direction.

Joining a union is simply a family tradition for Operating Engineer Dusty Anderson.

“My granddad was union, my dad’s union, my uncles are union,” Anderson said. “I’m in the union; my wife actually works for the union hall. My mother worked for the union hall before she retired.”
For Bob Starr, it has been 22 years since he rolled up his sleeves and went to work, but his union is still a brotherhood he supports today.

“I was in the teamsters union over 39 years,” Starr said. “The wages, the pension plan, the benefits, the health and welfare, [those were] the big benefits.”

Last year, only 11 percent of American workers were union members like Anderson and Starr, compared to 20 percent 30 years ago.

“It’s definitely slipping and some people think we don’t need unions, but I disagree with him,” Starr said. “If it weren’t for the union, the people wouldn’t be getting nearly the wages they’re getting or the benefits.”

Missouri’s Republican General Assembly passed a right-to-work bill in 2015, but Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed it.

The legislation would have allowed workers in union shops to choose whether they would like to have dues deducted from their check.

“It doesn’t mean that you’ve got the right to work, it just means that they want to be able to go to a union job and not join the union,” Anderson said. “That won’t work because the union has to function somehow.”

And so if Republican Eric Greitens is in the Missouri governor’s mansion, he could sign right-to-work right away. If Democrat Chris Koster wins, he will likely consider all of the union donations he has received when using his veto pen.

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