SOAR Members Fight to Preserve Union Rights in Missouri

Big business thought they won the fight to make Missouri the next so-called “Right to Work” state when Senate Bill 19 was signed into law by former Governor Eric Greitens who was forced to resign in June after being indicted and arrested for a number of federal offenses.

Needless to say, things don’t always go as planned.

Missouri’s “Right to Work” law was slated to take effect on August 28, 2017, and would have allowed workers who were covered by a union contract to opt out of paying dues to a union. In the labor movement, this practice is typically referred to as “freeloading.”

However, the labor movement assembled a massive campaign that gathered more than 310,000 signatures, making it possible for voters to stop this controversial law when they vote “NO” on “Proposition A” in the pivotal August 7 primary elections.

The Proposition A initiative was originally supposed to appear on the November 6 general election ballot. However, Missouri Republicans wanted to avoid turning out labor voters in the crucial November elections; so, they passed legislation that would move the vote to the August 7 primary.

Bill Finkle, Legislative Chair for SOAR Chapter 34-3 in Kansas City, recently told us about how he and other USW retirees have been involved in every aspect of this campaign, including collecting petitions, gathering ‘Vote NO’ pledge cards, distributing yard signs, and door-to-door canvassing. Bill even plans to distribute ‘Vote NO’ signs to polling locations on Election Day.

Bill also gave high praise to the leadership of  USW District 11 Director, Emil Ramirez, and to SOAR activists like Pammela Wright in West Plains, Janet Kirk (34-3 President) in Sugar Creek, and Delbert Phillips (11-6 President) and Tim Schleinger (11-6 Treasurer) in Scott City.

“They (anti-worker legislators) thought they were smart when they moved the vote on Prop A to August 7. They thought union voters weren’t going to turn out to vote against it.  We intend to prove them wrong!” Finkle said.


Top: Delbert “Griz” Phillips, SOAR Chapter 11-6 President and Tim Schleinger, SOAR Chapter 11-6 Treasurer.

Bottom from left to right: Richard Craighead, SOAR Chapter 34-3; David Meinell, Missouri Alliance for Retired Americans President; and Bill Finkle, SOAR Chapter 34-3 Treasurer.

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