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Proposed Missouri Right to Work Legislation Would Apply to Existing Contracts

On December 1, 2016 Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) prefiled House Bill 91, a “Right to Work” bill that includes both familiar and new concepts.

Most Right to Work laws prohibit union collective bargaining agreements from making payment of dues (or any type of fees) to a labor organization a condition of employment — meaning that employees cannot be fired if they refuse to pay union dues or agency fees.

Missouri HB 91 is short, and to the point — it contains this basic prohibition, but also both makes violating the law a criminal offense (a Class C misdemeanor) and gives individuals a private right to file a lawsuit to collect damages and attorneys’ fees.

Finally, HB91 makes any agreement that violates the law null and void and does not “grandfather in” existing contracts — this means that if HB91 becomes law as is, all existing union contracts that contain proscribed language would be null and void. Constitutional issues aside, the wording of the bill is not clear as to whether it would render the entire collective bargaining agreement void, or just the illegal provision(s).

A copy of HB91 can be found here.

Stay tuned for further developments.