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After suffering a major setback at the U.S. Supreme Court in June, organized labor scored a decisive victory at the ballot box in Missouri last week. In a referendum (Proposition A) vote that was part of the state’s Aug. 7 primary, Missourians rejected legislation (SB 19) approved by the state’s Republican-led General Assembly and Gov. Eric Greitens (R) in 2017, prohibiting labor contracts requiring union membership or the payment of union dues as a condition of employment, by a 2-to-1 margin.
But Jake Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Washington University in St. Louis, said that with union members comprising just 8.7 percent of Missouri’s total workforce last year, down from over 13 percent 15 years ago, the “win” on the so-called “right-to-work” referendum “just returns the situation to the status quo.” He added, however, that the vote was “a huge morale boost to a beleaguered movement.”
Some Republican Missouri lawmakers also indicated that the bipartisan 67-percent-to-32-percent vote on the right-to-work measure would likely curb any substantive action on the issue for at least a year (NEW YORK TIMES, ST LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, BALLOTPEDIA)