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On Feb. 6, Missouri became the 28th Right to Work state in the country and the sixth state to take action since 2012 after Gov. Eric Greitens (R-Mo.) signed ABC-supported legislation, SB 19

“Associated Builders and Contractors thanks Governor Greitens, Speaker Richardson, Senate President Pro Tem Richard, Representative Rehder, Senator Brown, and many others, for their leadership in allowing workers to freely decide whether to join a labor union, a policy that will benefit all of Missouri,” said ABC HOA President Michele Roberts-Bauer. “Our leaders in the legislature articulated the need for a better business environment in Missouri leading up to last November's historic election, and the voters agreed with this message by electing a governor, and majorities in the House and Senate, who support the merit shop principles of free enterprise.”

SB 19 was approved by the Senate on January 25 by a vote of 21-12 and was then passed in the House by a vote of 100-59 on February 2. Governor Greitens, who was elected in November, was a vocal proponent of Right to Work during his campaign. His predecessor, Gov. Jay Nixon (D-Mo.), vetoed a Right to Work bill that was sent to his desk in 2015. The legislation is scheduled to go into effect on August 28.

ABC supports Right to Work laws because they guarantee workers can seek employment without fearing they will be required to join (or pay) a union if they are hired. These laws simply allow workers who do not want to participate in collective bargaining to opt out of joining the union or paying dues or fees. If all or most of the members of a bargaining unit believe union representation will advance their interests, then nothing in a Right to Work law prohibits them from exercising their federally protected right to organize a union and collectively bargain with their employer. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that private sector employment grew 5.2 percent faster in Right to Work states than non-Right to Work states from 2003-2013. Additionally, U.S. Department of Commerce data show that per capita disposable income, adjusted for cost of living, was higher in Right to Work states than the national average in 2013.

In November 2016, ABC released its latest Merit Shop Scorecard rankings;  plagued in part by its failure to adopt a Right to Work law to date, Missouri’s business environment ranked 29th in the country. The website reviews state-specific policies and information significant to the success of the commercial and industrial construction industry. Specifically, the scorecard grades states on their Right to Work status, policies on prevailing wage and project labor agreement (PLA) mandates, their construction job growth rate, commitment to developing a well-trained workforce, career and technical education (CTE) opportunities and results, and use of public-private partnerships (P3s).