State Lawmakers to Debate Right-To-Work Bills

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JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri lawmakers are debating multiple bills which would make Missouri a right-to-work state. 

Missouri would become the 25th state to pass right-to-work legislation.   

Right-to-work legislation means Missourians could choose whether or not to join a union.

Some jobs in Missouri require its employees to be part of a union, but policy varies from company to company.  

Proponents of the legislation said right-to-work is the number one thing Missouri can do for its businesses.

Proponents claim right-to work would bring more businesses to the state, which means more jobs.

"What is the number one thing we can do legislatively, without spending taxpayer dollars, that would bring jobs to the state, [Missouri businesses] overwhelmingly say right-to-work or freedom to work legislation is what we need to do in Missouri," Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, said.

But other state lawmakers disagree "I don't think it would be effective, When I talked to local employers, none of them have said if right-to-work passes they will hire people. What they've said is if you can help train workers with the skills I need, I'll hire them." Rep. Stephen Webber, D-Columbia said.

Mike Louis, Secretary of the Missouri AFL-CIO, says the legislation would hurt Missourians.

Louis says the legislation is an example of corporate greed.

According to Louis, the legislation would lower the average wage of Missourians and would lead to less safe work environments.

The impact of right-to-work is unclear, with some studies contradicting each other. 

However most studies agree that right-to-work would lower the unemployment rate. However wages in right-to-work states are lower on average compared to its non right-to-work state peers.

Debate on the bills should resume after lawmakers return from spring break next week.