KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The state of Missouri moved closer to becoming a "right to work" state as the Republican-led Senate passed a right-to-work bill to ban mandatory union fees Thursday.
Senator Jamilah Nasheed says, "The union movement as we know it was dismantled," after the Senate approved the bill in a 21 to 12 vote.
According to an engineer's union member, there are 440,000 union jobs in Missouri. If right to work is approved Missouri would join more than two dozen other states including Kansas as a right to work state.
The right to work legislation would prohibit unions from requiring workers to pay dues as a condition of their employment.
Supporters say right to work will draw business to the state and give workers the choice not to pay into a union. Opponents say it’s an attempt to weaken unions and could lead to lower wages.
"In every other state where right to work exists, wages are extremely low when it comes to workers in the construction industry," Sen. Nasheed from St. Louis said. "What we have done is "turn back the clock."
"Wage growth in the midwestern states that are right to work over the last decade has been about 15-percent," Senator Bob Onder said. "Wage growth in forced unionization states has been about 3-percent."
There is also a bill in the house. The main difference between them is a grandfather clause in the Senate`s version, which would protect any union contracts negotiated before the law would go into effect in August and let them expire on their own.
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens says he'll make good on a campaign promise and sign the bill if sent it to his desk.