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Unions continue to pour cash into Missouri `right to work' battle

Unions continue to pour cash into Missouri `right to work' battle


Rich Pickering, at right, sports a handmade sign as hundreds of workers rally against Proposition A at the Laborers Local 42 union hall Saturday, June 23, 2018. Many who attended the rally later canvassed area neighborhoods to educate voters on the right to work legislation and the upcoming veto referendum, which will take place on August 7. Photo by Ryan Michalesko,

JEFFERSON CITY • With one week to go before Missouri voters head to the polls, the coalition of labor unions continues to pour money into defeating a `right to work’ law on the ballot.

According to reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission, the union-backed We Are Missouri coalition has raised a total of $16.1 million in its bid to dump the proposed law.

During the month of July, the report shows the coalition poured $6.8 million into advertisements, including mailers and television ads.

The coalition, which has been fueled by six- and seven-figure contributions from national labor organizations had $539,188 on hand.

The law, approved by the GOP-led Legislature last year, would prohibit forced membership in a union or force payments of dues or fees as a condition of employment.

Unions collected enough signatures to block the law from going into effect until voters weigh in.

• Before you vote in the Missouri primary, learn the candidates and issues 

Supporters of right to work have three different committees working to keep the law on the books. They report spending a total of about $3.2 million and have over $600,000 in their accounts heading into the Aug. 7 primary.

One of the committees, Missourians for Freedom to Work, spent $1.2 million in July. The committee has received the bulk of its funding from A New Missouri, which is former Gov. Eric Greitens’ nonprofit.

On Wednesday, labor leaders will be in St. Louis for a rally headed by Sean McGarvey, president of North American’s Building Trades Unions. The 4 p.m. event is at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1.

Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, said the rally is aimed at getting voters to the polls.

“Working men and women have been working hard to stop this,” said Walsh,

“We have a nice middle class living that we’re trying to preserve,” said Walsh, who is president of the Missouri State Building & Construction Trades Council.

Also on Wednesday, Martin Luther King III, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver and union leaders will be holding a similar rally in Kansas City.

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