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Missouri Senate Republican leader casts doubt on revival of right-to-work this year

Senate President Dave Schatz spoke Wednesday about the possible return of right-to-work in the Missouri Senate.
Senate President Dave Schatz spoke Wednesday about the possible return of right-to-work in the Missouri Senate.

Senate President Dave Schatz said Wednesday it’s unlikely that right-to-work proposals will gain traction in the Missouri Senate this year

“Do I think it’s likely? No,” Schatz, R-Sullivan, said.

Speaking on the first day of the Missouri General Assembly’s session, Schatz did leave the door open, however, saying “I believe in the freedom to work. I’ve been a strong supporter of that.”

The GOP leader’s comments echo those of his counterpart in the House.

“There’s no appetite in the House to revisit the right-to-work debate,” House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, said recently. “The people have spoken.”

Sen. Eric Burlison, R-Battlefield, pre-filed a bill that would bar unions from requiring workers to pay union fees as a condition of employment. Workers can already opt out of full union membership and pay only for the cost of collective bargaining with an employer. But under right-to-work, they can receive union representation at no cost.

After years of failed attempts, Republicans rejoiced in February 2017 when former Gov. Eric Greitens signed legislation making Missouri the country’s 28th right-to-work state.

But the celebration was cut short once labor collected enough signatures to successfully challenge the measure on the August ballot. More than 67 percent of voters sided against right-to-work.

Asked about right-to-work, Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh, a St. Louis County Democrat, said she thought “we should (let) sleeping dogs lie and move Missouri forward.”

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