JEFFERSON CITY • Gearing up for another fight with Republican majorities in the Legislature, the Missouri AFL-CIO unveiled a list of lawmakers it is endorsing in the Nov. 8 election.
It includes 13 Republicans in the House and two Republicans in the Senate.
The state’s largest labor organization also has sent out nearly 100,000 mailers seeking to boost Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander and Democratic candidate for governor Chris Koster, as well as remind voters of its opposition to right-to-work.
The push by the AFL-CIO won't help Democrats come anywhere close to recapturing power in either the House or the Senate. But, it could provide enough support to offset business groups and individuals who have pumped millions of dollars into the campaigns of candidates who support making Missouri a right-to-work state.
David Humphreys, president and CEO of Joplin-based Tamko Building Products, and his sister, Sarah Humphreys Atkins, for example, have written checks for more than $10 million this election season.
Right-to-work supporters, including various business groups and executives, contend that the measure would help attract new companies and jobs and invigorate the state’s economy.
Unions and their allies call the bill “right to work for less.” They argue that it would result in lower wages and a more dangerous work environment.
The measure would bar companies from requiring union membership or dues as part of employment contracts.
AFL-CIO President Mike Louis said the GOP lawmakers the coalition of unions is backing will help block the anti-union effort.
“Each one of these candidates will use their elected positions to stop dangerous legislation funded by out-of-touch millionaires and billionaires, such as right to work and pay check deception. Equally importantly, each will work to implement legislation that promotes investing in Missouri’s jobs, roads and bridges, public education, work place safety, and better wages for all, union and not,” Louis said in a statement released Friday.
Among the Republicans endorsed by the union were Rep. Chrissy Sommer, St. Charles County; Kathie Conway, St. Charles County; John McCaherty, High Ridge; Elaine Gannon, DeSoto; Becky Ruth, Festus; Shane Roden, Cedar Hill; and Bart Korman, whose district straddles St. Charles and Warren counties.
Koster is opposed to right-to-work. His opponent, Republican Eric Greitens, supports the proposal.