Letter to the Editor

Support worker freedom by voting 'yes' on Prop A

Friday, July 20, 2018

For years, we in Southeast Missouri have watched jobs, businesses and factories flee across our stateís border to neighboring states that offer freedom to work. Now, we the people have a chance to turn things around by supporting Prop A on Aug. 7.

All of Missouriís neighboring states with the exception of Illinois are freedom-to-work states. Everywhere I go my constituents are concerned we are losing jobs to states like Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas. The longer our stateís policies allow unions to force our workers to join, the longer Missouri will be passed over for new job opportunities as we watch surrounding states get new businesses and tax revenue for senior services, roads and schools.

Opponents of Prop A falsely assert that freedom to work causes wages to go down. In fact, the opposite is true. Passing Prop A would lead to higher wages for Missouri workers. State and federal data shows wages in states that have enacted freedom to work are $2,250 higher than the average for states that coerce workers to join a union. Donít be fooled. Supporting Prop A is a vote for higher wages for our workers.

Prop A is not only great for our workers itís great for our stateís economy as a whole. According to figures compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and a NERA Economic Consulting study, private sector GDP growth from 2001 to 2016 was 38 percent in right-to-work states compared to 28.5 percent in non right-to-work states.

Opponents of Prop A include big union bosses and politicians funded by union dues. For them, itís about power and campaign contributions. They want Missouri to remain a state where workers can be coerced to join a union as a condition of employment. They want to maintain the status quo where a portion of union dues goes to fund politicians and politics.

Prop A opponents know freedom to work would empower workers by giving them a choice. Itís common sense. Would the leaders of any organization be more or less responsive to their membership if their members were forced to join or if they had a choice to join? If workers can choose whether to join a union, the union leadership would be forced to be more accountable. They would have to be more careful about how and where they spend their money. They would have to want workers to join instead of having the luxury of automatic membership with little or no accountability.

Under the current system, union membership in the private sector has declined every year. We can change the old failing system by voting ďyesĒ on Prop A on Aug. 7. If we donít, our region will continue to be drained of economic opportunity and a vibrant workforce at risk of leaving our communities for jobs in other states.

State Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Dist. 148) represents parts of Scott and Mississippi counties in the Missouri General Assembly.