Missouri Becomes 28th "Right to Work" State

Author: Marta Moakley, XpertHR Legal Editor

February 7, 2017

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has signed a bill making Missouri the 28th "right to work" state. The law takes effect on August 28, 2017.

Senate Bill 19 bars employers from requiring employees to:

  • Become, remain or refrain from becoming a member of a labor organization;
  • Pay dues or other charges required of labor organization members as a condition of employment; or
  • Pay to any charity or other third party any amount equivalent to any dues, fees or other charges required of labor organization members.

Violations of the "right to work" law are classified as a Class C misdemeanor. In addition, the law provides for injunctive relief and other monetary damages, including attorney fees and costs, in the event of an actual or threatened violation.

The new law does not apply to:

  • Employers and employees covered by the federal Railway Labor Act;
  • Federal employers and employees;
  • Employers and employees on exclusive federal enclaves, such as a military base; and
  • Any provision that has been preempted by or conflicts with federal law.

Any agreement between an employer and a labor organization entered into before the effective date is not covered by the law's requirements - the law's "grandfather" provision. However, the law will apply to any such agreement upon its renewal, extension, amendment or modification after the effective date.

As of August 28, 2017, an employee seeking to resign his or her union membership should do so by following the proper procedures under the union's governing documents. Any employees who join or remain with the union after the law's effective date would continue to be subject to union rules, fees, fines and procedures.

Representative Holly Rehder, one of the bill's sponsors, called the new law "a huge win for Missouri," but union leaders are vowing to restore union shop provisions through a ballot measure.