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Letter to the Editor: Prop A vote thwarts right-to-work ‘scheme’

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Dear editor,

I want to offer a heartfelt thanks to the voters of Greene County and all of Missouri for their resounding “no” vote on Proposition A.

They recognized that the name right-to-work is, in and of itself, a lie. We all have the right to work, thanks to the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, which forbids forcing anyone to join a union.

Thanks to this vote, working men and women in Missouri can continue to earn the best wages in our four-state area. In our industry, the average construction worker, union or nonunion, makes $21.51 an hour in Missouri. In “right-to-work” Kansas, that average is $16.29. In “right-to-work” Oklahoma, it’s $14.19. In “right-to-work” Arkansas, it’s $12.38, making it the absolute worst in the nation. Those are all figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Here are some real figures from our area: A construction laborer working on U.S. Highway 65 in Taney County will make $25.16 an hour, plus almost $13 an hour in benefits. That’s for any worker, union or nonunion. In Boone County, Arkansas, a laborer doing the same job on the highway earns $12.36 – not even the state average – with no benefits. What’s right about that work?

Our voters have decided Missouri workers deserve the best opportunity to earn a good living. We are so grateful.

Now, the question is, will our elected officials in Jefferson City heed this message from the people they serve or continue to do the bidding of their wealthy donors who tried to push right-to-work on us? We plan to ask that question a lot between now and November.

—Jeff Phillips, Laborers Local 663, Clever

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