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Missouri House tackles right to work issue

Lawmakers tackled several big issues at the Capitol Wednesday, including the controversial right to work movement. It restricts labor unions from collecting fees, which is stirring up a lot of debate.

Opponents of the bill said it will destroy the unions in Missouri, lowering wages and, in turn, affect tax revenue.

Despite the criticism, the bill passed first-round approval.

Rep. Courtney Curtis, a Democrat who sponsored the measure, said the bill would force the unions to offer better customer service and ensure more access to trade jobs for minorities.

“People won’t continue to put money into something that doesn’t serve their best interests, so it allows minorities a bargaining chip they’ve never had, to say we want more access to internship programs and access to be able to become journeymen or we’re not going to give you money,” said Curtis.

The bill’s language is limited to the construction trade. Curtis said for too long, construction unions haven’t given opportunities to minority workers. He said the bill would force their hand by starving them of resources.

Many of his fellow Democrats said this is not a path Missouri should travel down.

“Weakening the ability of Missouri workers to ban together and demand and receive fair wages and fair benefits, to have a safe workplace. Weakening starts by passing right to work,” said Rep.Stephen Webber.

The House has to vote one more time to move the bill to the Senate.

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