Earlier this year, Missouri became the 28th “Right-to-Work” state. “Right to work” (RTW) is the name for a policy designed to take away rights from working people. The policy is wrong, and the Machinists in Missouri are fighting back.
Members and activists are trying to collect enough signatures to get “RTW” put on the ballot and allow Missouri voters to have their voices heard. The campaign must turn in more than 160,000 valid signatures of registered voters by August 25 to halt implementation of the law on August 28.
If the petition campaign is successful, implementation of so-called “RTW” would be put on hold until Missouri voters have a chance to decide the measure in 2018.
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“We spent the last five years educating members and the public about the effects of RTW, which would mean lower wages, higher infant mortality rates, higher rates of job injury and higher on-the-job mortality rates,” said IAM member and Missouri State AFL-CIO President Mike Louis. “The effects of this bad policy are so widespread. It is not just about wages; it is about the quality of life for the middle class.”
“There was a dream sold that employers were going to rush into the state of Missouri because we are now RTW,” said IAM member and Missouri State Rep. Clem Smith. “And that is not true; you can ask Oklahoma about that when they went RTW. It never happened there. It will take a lot of education, but hopefully, we will get this ballot initiative going and change their minds.”
“People in RTW states make 3.1 percent less, and 3.1 percent is hard to know what that means, but for the typical full-time worker that translates into $1,500 less a year per paycheck,” said Economic Policy Institute Economist, Heidi Shierholz. “So you can imagine what that means for a family from paycheck to paycheck. It means deciding between groceries or filling up your gas tank. Those are real impacts for real people.”
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