Unions have a hold on JeffCo GOP, thwarting right-to-work

17 Aug

One of the failures of the Republican-dominated Missouri Legislature is that it has not passed a right-to-work bill (I recognize that such a bill, at this time, would be vetoed by Democratic Governor Nixon, but first things first). Right-to-work (RTW) eliminates union shops, in which employees at unionized companies are required to join the union. Indiana passed such a law early this year, becoming the 23rd state to do so (it would be appropriate for Missouri, the 24th state, to become the 24th RTW state).

One study found that the (then) 22 RTW states were all in the top 25 for best workforces. RTW states also have lower unemployment, more population growth, and more job growth.

The reason for Missouri’s failure to pass such a law, as the first article linked above states, is dischord in the GOP ranks. The Senate Majority Leader, Tom Dempsey, opposes RTW. A review of the Leader’s primary election guide shows that Jefferson County representatives have not, and will not in the next session, contributed to the passage of RTW. In addition to outgoing senator (and current house candidate) Kevin Engler, incumbent Rep. Paul Wieland and John McCaherty are foes of right-to-work. Among this year’s hopefuls, Senate candidate Gary Romine and House candidate Derrick Good have stated their opposition.

The opposition of these candidates to RTW, which is generally red-meat conservatism, can likely be traced to the lingering strength of unions in Jefferson County. One can see this on the Missouri Ethics Commission report for July for the Jefferson County Labor Political Committee. The committee brought in almost $7,000 over the summer. Much of this was from a number of unions (mostly based in St. Louis), including those representing sheet metal workers, masons, plumbers, glaziers, and painters. One also notices that the committees of Wieland and McCaherty pitched in, donating $170 and $160, respectively. One might  interpret this as an homage, perhaps a tribute, a gift that is required but maybe given grudgingly, kind of like Missouri workers are forced to pay their union dues each month, like it or not. Keep an eye on how the Labor Committee intervenes in the races including these candidates, if at all.

All three major GOP candidates for governor (Spence, Randles, Sauer) made passing right-to-work one of the main planks of their campaign platforms. If elected, primary victor Dave Spence is sure to push hard for RTW. Unfortunately, he will not get much help from the Jefferson County contingent at the legislature.

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One Response to “Unions have a hold on JeffCo GOP, thwarting right-to-work”

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  1. Local AFL-CIO Endorsements « Jefferson County Penknife - September 19, 2012

    […] wrote here about resistance to right to work among local GOP legislative candidates. I noted that two […]

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