JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Prominent Missouri Republicans held a “Right to Work” rally inside the House lounge Wednesday morning just before veto session got under way.
Nearly 150 supporters of the contentious legislation filled the room as speakers in government and candidates for statewide office spoke. Among the speakers were Former Speakers of the House Catherine Hanaway and Tim Jones, gubernatorial candidate John Brunner, Sen. Bob Onder, R-St. Louis, along with a few others.
Lt. gov. candidates Bev Randles and Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, also attended the rally.
Hanaway spoke briefly on the bill but garnered huge cheers from the audience on what she and many in the room see as a chance to give workers the freedom to choose whether or not they should join a union.
“Don’t you think it’s time that we gave every worker in Missouri the freedom of choice to decide whether or not they should join a union?” she asked, receiving widespread responses of approval. “Don’t you think it’s time that we ended the forced taxation on workers to support political causes like Planned Parenthood that they don’t believe in? Don’t you think it’s time that we used our Republican supermajorities to get this done?”
Republicans within the state and across the country have touted right-to-work legislation as pro-business legislation that empowers economies by giving workers the freedom to choose. Opponents to the measure claim the legislation hurts the collective bargaining power of unions and creates a “free rider” problem that gives incentives for employees to not join unions.
For Brunner, himself a businessman, the legislation to make Missouri the 26th state in the union to become right-to-work would make the Show-Me State an appealing place for businesses, thus improving what he called a “lagging” economy.
“I had a chance to talk to [former Texas Gov.] Rick Perry 15 minutes before he quit the Presidential race and saw what he was able to do in Texas,” Brunner said. “I’m tired of hearing about Texas, folks. I want to talk about Missouri.”
Onder, an active member of the Senate Committee on the Sanctity of Human Life, says that workers should have a chance to prevent their union dues from going to places like Planned Parenthood that they may not support for moral reasons.
“Freedom to work is also a matter of freedom of conscience,” Onder said. “No pro-life worker should be forced to pay union dues to an organization that supports radical pro-abortion politicians.”
A vote on the legislation to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill is expected in the afternoon.