Missouri Gov. Nixon vetoes right-to-work legislation

Jun 4, 2015, 10:31 AM

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a measure Thursday that would have made Missouri the 26th right-to-work state, and it’s unclear whether proponents will be able to muster enough support in the Republican-led Legislature to override the veto.

The governor, a longtime opponent of the effort, traveled to the Kansas City area to announce the veto among about 200 local United Auto Workers union members near a Ford assembly plant. The bill would have barred workplace contracts that require all employees– even those who aren’t union members — to pay union fees.

“This extreme measure would take our state backward, squeeze the middle-class, lower wages for Missouri families, and subject businesses to criminal and unlimited civil liability,” Nixon said in a statement. “Right to work is wrong for Missouri, it’s wrong for the middle-class and it must never become the law of the Show-Me State.”

The legislation also would make anyone “who directly or indirectly violates” its provisions subject to misdemeanor charges punishable by up to 15 days in jail and a fine of up to $300. Civil lawsuits also could be brought against anyone who violates, or threatens to violate, the bill’s ban on mandatory union fees in workplaces.

Nixon slammed the bill as a “big-government overreach.”

Most of the Missouri’s eight neighboring states already have right-to-work laws; the only two that don’t are Illinois and Kentucky. Republican legislators and governors in the Midwestern states Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin all enacted right-to-work laws in the past three years.

Supporters in Missouri say the legislation would attract businesses and spur economic growth, citing lawmakers’ failure to pass a law as an incentive for companies to instead expand in nearby right-to-work states. Reviews of research into the economic effects of right-to-work laws have generally concluded that it is difficult to isolate that provision from other policies and preferences in the state.

“Missouri is at an economic disadvantage that must be reversed,” Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said in a statement. “Missouri has a well-trained workforce and great resources, but we have been told time and again by site-selection consultants that companies pass over non-right-to-work states, no matter their qualifications.”

Others tout the measure as a matter of fairness for workers who now can be forced to pay fees even if they don’t want to join a union.

Critics argue it would weaken unions by creating a free-rider system and could lead to lower wages.

“If enough members opt out of paying union dues, they’re able to basically get the benefits of belonging to the union for free,” said Jason Starr, 39, a team leader at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant. He said that “would essentially weaken the ability of the union to function.”

This year marks the first that Missouri legislators were able to foster enough support to send a bill to the governor, and it came at a cost. The Legislature effectively shut down the last week of session after some GOP senators forced a vote on the measure, and Democrats in response filibustered for days. Only one other bill was passed in the Senate.

Even with a record number of Republicans in the Missouri House and a near-record in the Senate, the bill’s original passage still fell short of the two-thirds majority vote that would be needed in both chambers to overturn Nixon’s veto. The GOP was split, with some members joining Democrats in opposition. Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, the top Republican in that chamber, was among those who voted against right to work.

While bill sponsor Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, said in a statement that he’s “optimistic” fellow representatives will join him in an attempt to override the veto, House Minority Leader Jake Hummel of St. Louis said Democrats are “confident” such efforts would fail.

The measure passed 17 votes short of what’s needed to override a veto in the House.

Legislators are to reconvene in September to consider overriding vetoes.

___

Associated Press writer Maria Sudekum contributed to this report from Pleasant Valley, Missouri. Follow Summer Ballentine at https://twitter.com/esballentine .

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

United States News

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)...
Associated Press

Ex-Twitter execs to testify on block of Hunter Biden story

Former Twitter employees are expected to testify next week before the House Oversight Committee about the social media platform's handling of reporting on President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden.
1 day ago
FILE - The seal of the Board of Governors of the United States Federal Reserve System is displayed ...
Associated Press

Federal Reserve set to impose smaller hike could hint of fewer increases

The Federal Reserve is poised this week to raise its benchmark interest rate for an eighth time since March.
1 day ago
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)...
Associated Press

President Biden announces COVID-19 emergencies to end May 11

President Joe Biden informed Congress on Monday that he will end the twin national emergencies for addressing COVID-19 on May 11.
1 day ago
(AP File Photo/Geneva Heffernan)...
Associated Press

Valley woman among 3 killed in shooting at Los Angeles rental home

Three women, including one from Buckeye, were killed in a weekend shooting at a short-term rental home in an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood.
1 day ago
(Arizona Department of Transportation photo)...
Associated Press

Should federal grants be in favor of highway repair over expansion?

Advocates for highway construction are concerned their projects are getting shortchanged in the competition for grant money under the new infrastructure law.
2 days ago
Demonstrators block traffic protesting the death of Tyre Nichols on January 27, 2023 in Memphis, Te...
Associated Press

Memphis police chief disbands unit responsible in beating of Tyre Nichols

The unit is composed of three teams of about 30 officers and had been inactive since Tyre Nichols' Jan. 7 arrest.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Missouri Gov. Nixon vetoes right-to-work legislation