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Missouri's Right To Work Suspended By The Citizens

As you are likely aware, Missouri became the 28th “Right to Work” state after Governor Greitens signed Senate Bill 19 into law in February 2017.

Right-to-work laws prohibit employers from requiring their employees to pay union dues, prohibiting common “fair share” provisions in agreements between labor organizations and employers that require the employer to collect union dues from union and non-union employees alike.

Missouri’s right-to-work statute contains a grandfather clause exempting any agreement between an employer and a labor organization that is entered into before the statute goes into effect. This enables unions to keep collecting dues from non-union workers until the current agreement containing the fair share provision expires. However, if any such agreement is renewed, extended, amended or modified after the law takes effect, it will no longer be covered by the exemption, and the provision mandating union dues will be void.

Missouri’s right-to-work statute was set to take effect on August 28, 2017; however, the Missouri Constitution provides for a “citizen’s veto,” requiring that legislation passed by the General Assembly be stayed and referred to the voters if five percent of the voters in six of Missouri’s eight congressional districts sign a petition before the law takes effect.

Right-to-work opponents submitted more than 300,000 petition signatures on August 18, 2017, and the legislation was officially stayed pending verification of the petition signatures by the Secretary of State. Verification is expected to be completed in the coming weeks. If at least 100,000 of the submitted signatures can be verified, Missouri’s right-to-work statute will not take effect, if at all, until after the 2018 referendum. Right-to-work legislation was defeated when it last appeared on Missouri ballots in 1978.

In the meantime, if desired, employers and labor organizations may continue to enter into agreements containing “fair share” provisions, and these agreements will be covered by the grandfather provision until they expire or are modified.

For more information, please contact Allison M. Scime at ascime@lashlybaer.com, or at 314-436-8342, or contact your Lashly & Baer attorney.

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