A national conservative PAC is training its focus on Missouri in the hopes of helping pass tougher regulations on labor unions.
Missouri Rising, a state chapter of conservative nonprofit America Rising Squared, has hired veteran Jefferson City lobbyist Mark Rhoads to lead its efforts in the statehouse. The group announced Thursday it will also employ many of the tactics it used in the run up to the 2016 gubernatorial election in Missouri, such as video tracking of lawmakers, opposition research and potentially even direct mail and television or radio advertising.
The goal, according to Missouri Rising spokesman Jeremy Adler, is to help Republican legislative leaders pass right to work legislation, which would allow employees in unionized workplaces to refuse to pay unions for the cost of being represented.
“Passing right-to-work and ending big labor’s stranglehold on Missouri’s economy is a key step in the fight for freedom and opportunity for Missouri’s working men and women, and Missouri Rising is very proud to be a part of it,” Adler said.
Supporters of right to work argue the law would strengthen the state’s economy and encourage businesses to grow. Opponents say it will simply weaken labor unions and lower wages.
Labor unions have long fought off passage of right-to-work, but this year Republicans control both chambers of the General Asssembly and the governor’s mansion. Now, even Demcorats seem resigned to the fact that right-to-work is a foregone conclusion, with House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, a Kansas City Democrat, trying to convince lawmakers that any right-to-work bill should include a referendum clause putting it to a vote of the people.
House Speaker Todd Richardson, a Poplar Bluff Republican, rebuked the idea of a referendum and vowed to push right-to-work out of the House and to the Senate as quickly as possible.
Adler said that right-to-work will be his organization’s top priority, but it might also work towards passage of a lobbyist gift ban and changes to the state’s legal system.