Guest Commentary

Eric Burlison: Right-to-work law will bring jobs, end cronyism

Eric Burlison
Eric Burlison

Every elected official has an “idea” on how to make our economy grow. The truth is that most of these government “ideas” don’t grow anything; they just shift the chairs around on the deck of a sinking ship.

Take for example, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s reverse Robin Hood policy of taxing the poor to give to the rich and politically connected.

His giveaways to the Ford and Boeing plants were successful, but the real story is that his “success stories” cost billions of taxpayer dollars to keep the companies from leaving Missouri. This, while allowing hundreds of other plants and thousands of jobs around the state to flee, because of outdated laws.

The bottom line is that there isn’t enough money in our state coffers to stop businesses from leaving or convince others to come to Missouri. Neither can we continue to place the real tax burden on those Missourians who aren’t as politically connected as the ones who have Nixon’s ear today.

I know that House Bill 116 (Right to Work) is a concern for some union workers, but the fact of the matter is that all it does is give you, the individual worker, the freedom to choose whether or not you want to join a union. Period.

Just this week I received an email from a union worker at Ford’s Claycomo plant who said, “I am paying union dues under duress. I feel that a gun is being held to my head (that gun being I cannot stay employed with Ford if I am not in the union).”

Right to work doesn’t destroy unions. On the contrary, I believe that it will make them better. The real threat that union workers are facing today, and our state as a whole, is Missouri’s inability to attract new jobs and opportunities.

Unions in states that have adopted right to work often experience a growth in membership. And right to work forces unions to become more attuned to what all their members need, not just a vocal minority.

It makes no sense for unions to support Planned Parenthood and far-left policies like so-called “comprehensive” immigration reform and Obamacare, which is destroying the health care benefits that union workers fought for decades to receive. Right to work will focus union bosses on real worker problems.

On average, forced-union states have had decreased payroll growth, slower employment growth, less compensation growth, and a lower disposable personal income after accounting for the cost of living than right-to-work states.

Plus, right-to-work states are increasing their working population while maintaining fewer welfare recipients, as compared to forced-union states. The reality is that workers move to where the jobs are and Missouri isn’t creating enough.

That’s why we lost a congressional seat a few years ago and, at the rate our population is growing, will lose another one in the near future. However, we can turn our situation around without breaking the state coffers!

This Wednesday, the Missouri General Assembly will hold its veto session. I encourage every representative and senator to override Nixon’s veto of House Bill 116 for two important reasons.

One, every working man and woman ought to have the choice to join or not join a private organization without being fired.

Two, Missouri can’t afford to continue down the no/slow growth path that Nixon’s forced-unionism has trapped us in.

Twenty-five other states are realizing better economic opportunities and aren’t turning back. The question for us is: How bad does it have to get in Missouri before we make this simple, no-shifting-tax burden change?

Rep. Eric Burlison, a Springfield Republican, represents Missouri’s 133rd district.