Despite not running for office, Missouri Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon received a sizable campaign contribution Wednesday from a major union less than a week after killing a bill that would have ended forced union dues in the state.
House Bill 116 was signed by House Speaker John Diehl and Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, both Republicans, in late May and would have made Missouri the 26 state to ban forced union dues or fees as a condition of employment. The policy, known as right-to-work, tends to be heavily favored by the right but opposed by those on the left including labor unions. The measure, however, was killed in early June after Nixon decided to veto it.
According to The Associated Press, less then a week after the veto, the United Automobile Workers (UAW) gave Nixon $50,000 in campaign contribution. The UAW is among the many unions that oppose right-to-work arguing that it lowers worker pay and protections. The union even has a webpage which links news, events and studies that disfavor the policy.
“I want to look at the effects of right to work,” Bob King, president of the UAW, said on MSNBC back in 2012. “It`s very clear for all workers, whether there are unions or not, you have workers making $1500 less per year, median household income more than $6,000 less. Almost a third of people lacking health insurance. A higher average of poverty and the rate of workplace death.”
The claim, however, that workers in right-to-work states get paid less has been heavily disputed with some economist noting it fail to take into account many economic factors.
“Average wages in right-to-work states are indeed slightly lower than in non-right-to-work states,” James Sherk, a senior policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, argued in a fact sheet. “This occurs because almost every Southern state has a right-to-work law and the South has a lower cost of living. Studies that control for differences in costs of living find workers in states with voluntary dues have no lower — and possibly slightly higher — real wages than workers in states with compulsory dues.”
Nevertheless, Americans for the most part approve of right-to-work laws. According to Gallup, union approval is at 53 percent while right-to-work is at 71 percent.
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