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Fighting Right to Work a Person to Death


Missouri is one of the many states who have passed right to work a person to death laws in the last couple of days. But in Missouri, workers are fighting back.

It appears that Missouri labor groups will be able to block the state’s new right-to-work law from taking effect Aug. 28.

They’ve collected more than 300,000 notarized signatures in the fight to force a statewide vote over the law in November 2018, state AFL-CIO president Mike Louis and other union leaders say. That’s more than three times the number needed.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has said the law can’t be enforced if it’s clear union leaders turn in at least 100,000 certified signatures. Louis told supporters at a rally this week that the signatures will be submitted on Aug. 18.

“It really is humbling to know what you’ve accomplished will go down in the history books,’’ Louis said, emphasizing that the coalition has collected enough signatures in each of the state’s eight congressional districts even though they only needed to do so in six.

The article isn’t really clear on the legal ramifications here or what the next steps are. I assume that the people of Missouri can simply void a state law by getting 100,000 signatures. But at the very least this seems to have real implications for the future of the law. Let’s hope it works.

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  • Jim Bales

    “They’ve collected more than 300,000 notarized signatures in the fight to force a statewide vote over the law in November 2018,”

    It looks like the 100,000 signatures is sufficient to trigger a referendum, which (if successful) can overturn the law.


    • TheBrett

      Same thing happened in Ohio IIRC. The legislature passed a Right-to-Work law, and it was overturned in referendum.

      This type of stuff is why I’m not in the camp that dislikes referenda in general. When you have a government that elects its representatives with some rather undemocratic features, they can be a useful corrective.

  • TJ

    Let’s see if they can overturn their It Sucks to be Black laws too. Missouri really sucks but they make a nice rack of ribs.

  • Gregor Sansa

    I like to call it “right to mooch”. The “to death” thing is accurate but many workers will feel exempt because of the nature of their jobs. Nobody is exempt from mooching.

    • King Goat

      I also like to remind right wingers that these are also laws restricting certain contracts that employers and employees may otherwise voluntarily make. An employer may want to have a certain collective group of employees do a thing for them, these laws say that certain ‘special snowflakes’ who want to do the job but don’t want to be part of that group have to hired as well.

      • mattmcirvin

        I’ve long been amused by the exception that libertarians carve out from the holy freedom of contract here.

        • Paul Thomas

          To be sure, any libertarian worthy of the title would acknowledge that union-security agreements are completely legitimate contracts, and I’ve seen plenty who have.

          Of course, they’re generally opposed to the entire architecture of labor law, so this isn’t worth much.

        • Origami Isopod

          To Be Scrupulously Fair, they also get very upset when liberal companies terminate conservative employees for blatant over-the-top HR violations.

    • Origami Isopod

      Conservatism, being about the defense of power and privilege, systematically minimizes the role that less-powerful people play in creating wealth and value. The ur-example is probably how it disrespects workers and valorizes the job creators. But also, see how it makes women’s labor invisible, when it’s not mocking it (e.g., nagging wives who expect men to pick up after themselves, shitty stereotypical jokes about how women want to talk about the relationship which is of course not as important as foobaw scores, etc. etc.).

      Then there are the stereotypes about PoC being lazy and shiftless, when in fact they work harder for less money overall than white people. The stereotype is rooted in the era of U.S. slavery, when of course people whom you legally owned and could legally work to death were going to try to preserve their own lives instead of maximize your profits.

  • apocalipstick

    This would send the law into the referendum process. Still might pass. We have a lot of hardcore peckerwoods here.

    • efgoldman

      Still might pass

      That’s the impression I get from 1000 miles away.
      Will the referendum be on the regular election ballot, or will they schedule a seperate date? Because that could make a real difference, especially in the effect of the inevitable flood of money the RWNJs will pour in.

  • apocalipstick

    BTW, my dad is a Teamster and was able to raise four kids, take vacations, and help us go to college. Due to membership declines, his pension is threatened. Why isn’t that contract sacred like the bonus contracts of banksters?

    • King Goat

      All promises matter!

      • cpinva

        but some promises matter more than others.

    • Origami Isopod

      Same reason wingnuts don’t care if corporations commit fraud against ordinary citizens. We don’t matter. It’s all about who’s got the most power, and power is useless unless you fuck other people over with it.

  • The “Show Me…

    … the Fucking Money State!”

    • Daniel

      “The show-me-yours I’ll show-you-mine state!”

      Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  • Paul Thomas

    As best I understand it (which isn’t well), the collection of sufficient signatures for a referendum on a new law stays the effect of the law during the referendum process.

  • Greg Wellman

    Typo: I think you meant “can’t” rather than “can” in your second-to-last sentence.

  • BlueLoom

    I didn’t know that a spawn of former MOAG/Gov/Sen/USAG John Ashcroft had followed in daddy’s state political footsteps.

    • Origami Isopod

      Political dynasties are bad only when Democrats have them.

      • BlueLoom

        I keep forgetting that. :-)

  • William Berry

    Sorry for off-topic comment, but:


    Manchin has been defended here, perhaps justifiably; it may be true that he is the best we can hope for from a state like WV. But, if he takes this job, and that wacko Democrat –> Republican governor gets a senatorial appointment, he will go down as one of the worst traitors to his party in the history of U.S. politics. And that is saying something.

    • Drew

      This has been an on and off rumor since Inauguration Day, so cool your jets.

      Also, the right time for trump to have done this was in January. He’s already demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt that his administration is…omnishambles. Manchin would be nuts to take a job working for Trump. Especially one of the less prestigious cabinet posts.

  • Can’t MAGA without Right to work to death laws in all fifty states.

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