The “right-to-work” movement has been on a roll of late, as an increasing number of states (especially in the Midwest) have adopted laws putting such provisions on the books. Right-to-work laws generally make it unlawful to require a person to be or become a union member, or pay union dues, as a condition of initial or continued employment.
However, the resurgence of right-to-work laws suffered a recent defeat as Missouri voters overwhelmingly rejected a right-to-work law which sought to prohibit unions from requiring union fees as a condition of employment in that state. On August 7, Missouri voters voted (with 67 percent of the vote) to reject a referendum on legislation signed in 2017 that would have made Missouri the 28th right-to-work state.
For employers in Missouri, this means a return to the status quo, since the right-to-work law never went into effect. More broadly, while union membership has drastically decreased over the past few decades, this recent vote demonstrates that organized labor is not going away without a strong (and well-funded) fight. Unions spent millions in Missouri to defeat the right-to-work law, and this victory may galvanize support for the labor movement for future battles in other states.
For more information about these developments, contact any attorney in our Government Relations Practice Group or your Fisher Phillips attorney.