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Hearing On Right-To-Work Bill Draws Hundreds To Mo. Capitol

right to work hearing on 2-6-2013.JPG
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Supporters and opponents of legislation that would make Missouri a right-to-work state crowded into a hearing room today at the State Capitol.

House Bill 77 would forbid workers from being forced to join unions or pay union dues as a condition of employment.  Greg Hoberock, national chair of Associated Builders and Contractors, testified in favor of the measure.

“I think you need a balance," Hoberock said.  "I don’t think this bill excludes union membership -- I think it give the employee(s) the right to make their own choice to further (their) income and to have a job and to do what they want to do.”

Mike Lewis, Secretary-Treasurer of the Missouri chapter of the AFL-CIO, spoke against the bill.  He says becoming a right-to-work state would allow “freeloaders” to enjoy union benefits without paying for them.

“It weakens unions, and it weakens (the) collective bargaining unit," Lewis said.  "It destroys the best job security protection that exists, a union contract -- meanwhile, it allows some workers to pay nothing and receive all the benefits paid for by union membership.”

The bill’s supporters say that becoming a right-to-work state would result in more companies moving to Missouri and creating new jobs.  The House Committee on Workforce Development and Workplace Safety will vote on the bill at a later date.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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