Standing among auto union workers near Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Mo., Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday announced his veto of the “right-to-work” bill backed by some Republicans in the state Legislature.
The measure – which was forced to a vote in the Senate and passed both chambers with fewer votes than needed to override his veto – would bar payment of union dues or fees from being conditions of employment, a poison pill that unions believe could work to their financial detriment.
“This extreme measure would take our state backward, squeeze the middle-class, lower wages for Missouri families, and subject businesses to criminal and civil liability,” Nixon said. “The truth is, right-to-work is wrong, it will not work – and today, right here – I’m vetoing this bill.”
The policy, Nixon added, would make “it harder for workers to organize and collectively bargain will not strengthen our economy.” In a jab at Republicans, Nixon dubbed the policy “anti-business.”
“In addition to denying employers the skilled workforce they need to compete, this bill represents exactly the kind of big-government overreach that proponents of this bill say they’re against,” he said.
Nixon planned a similar event to the one at UAW Local 249 later in the day at a training facility for the Sheet Metal Workers Local 36 in St. Louis.
His action on Thursday kicks off a summer-long battle with Republicans in the Legislature who are hoping to override his veto.
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican who supports the bill, said in a statement Thursday that his party should united in support of a veto override.
“Once again, Governor Nixon is standing in the way of economic development, putting his personal politics ahead of a widely supported reform that will help Missouri attract jobs and provide more opportunities for our workers,’ Kinder said. “A right to work law is a crucial tool for economic development and for attracting much-needed manufacturing jobs to Missouri. I ask our legislators to stand together and override the governor’s veto.”
With united opposition from Democrats, and even a number of Republicans, the bill passed the Senate two votes short of what it would need for an override and was 17 votes short in the House. With Nixon’s action Thursday, the focus now moves to them.