Missouri becomes 28th right-to-work state

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Posted: Feb 06, 2017 10:30 PM

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signed right-to-work legislation Thursday, making the state the 28th to enact laws that prevent workers from having to join a union to get or keep a job.

The Republican, who took office last month, had pledged to sign right-to-work as a campaign promise. His predecessor, Democrat Jay Nixon, vetoed a bill to prevent forced unionism in 2015.

Greitens tweeted in celebration after signing the bill into law:

Kentucky enacted a similar measure in January. Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia and Wisconsin have also passed right-to-work laws in the past five years. Seven of the eight states that border Missouri — Illinois is the lone holdout — have right-to-work laws, and many lawmakers and economists say that had put the Show-Me State at a disadvantage in attracting business and industry.

Among the groups that have fought the years-long battle for right-to-work in the state is Associated Industries of Missouri, a business trade association. The group argues the new law will allow the state to attract business and employment opportunities it has lost to those other states.

“We thank Governor Greitens for signing this bill and allowing Missouri to compete for more jobs,” said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of AIM.

New Hampshire could be next — and the first state in the Northeast to enact a right-to-work law. A measure has passed the state’s Senate and will be considered in the House next week.

Republican state Rep. Stephen Schmidt, chairman of the House labor committee, told Fox News it should be a close vote.

“I believe it will be a very tight vote one way or the other,” he said.

If the House passes the bill, New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu is expected to give his approval. National Right to Work Committee vice president Greg Mourad previously told Watchdog.org he is optimistic New Hampshire could be the 29th right-to-work state.

“We’re optimistic about it passing in the House as well, and Gov. Sununu has said he will sign it,” Mourad said.

There’s also a right-to-work movement afoot at the national level. U.S. Reps. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., and Steve King, R-Iowa, introduced last week the National Right to Work Act, which would amend the National Labor Relations Act to add a right-to-work provision.

“Right-to-work states, like South Carolina, have seen first-hand that job creation and economic growth comes from expanded freedoms. We need to expand common-sense reforms, like those in the National Right to Work Act to protect American workers and create jobs,” Wilson said.