Days after Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder's Right-to-Work presentation at Westminster College, State Rep. Michael Frame visited the school to provide perspective from the other end of the political spectrum.
The Democrat from Eureka spoke out against the legislation as part of the school's Westminster State Leader Forum series. He followed Kinder, who touted the laws that would prohibit mandatory union membership as a stipulation for employment.
Frame, who said he himself had been part of various labor unions for 30 years, said that Right-To-Work legislation was "a cleverly-named misnomer pushed by corporations, secret groups like (the American Legislative Exchange Council) and puppet politicians."
"It's a union-busting attempt done to bring down wages," Frame said. "Union workers on average make more than non-union, this tells me collective bargaining works better than individual bargaining. So why is our government taking away that collective tool?"
Right-to-Work legislation, which outlaws collective bargaining agreements in which employers and unions agree on mandatory union membership for employees, has been passed in 24 states. Missouri is currently considering a Right-to-Work bill: Missouri House Bill 1099, sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield.
Frame said proponents of Right-to-Work bills argue that such legislation would lower production costs, make Missouri more appealing to businesses looking to relocate and promote higher wages for employees.
However, Frame argued that the opposite would be true with Right-to-Work - and that the bill's proponents knew it.
"We have the most productive workers in the world, yet wages have been stagnant for the last 30 years," Frame said. "CEOs are enjoying record-breaking salaries, but will the bill drive down wages? When pressed, every (proponent) said it may drive down wages a little bit. (Speaker of the House) Tim Jones, Eric Burlison, even Peter Kinder, admitted that Right-to-Work will drive down wages."