Patrick IshmaelGraham Renz

THE PROBLEM: Until recently, many workers in Missouri could be forced to join unions. That was unfair not only to the employees affected by the law, but also to employers who had to operate under it.

THE SOLUTION: Right to work.

Right to work ends forced unionism and lets workers decide whether joining a union best serves their interests. This means that being a member of a union cannot be a requirement for employment, and gives employees the final decision about whether they want to give money to a union that may or may not have their best interests at heart.

In 2017, Missouri passed Right to Work, but in 2018, the state will hold a referendum on that law.

WHO ELSE DOES IT? Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

THE OPPORTUNITY: If the state’s Right to Work law is put into full effect, Missouri will join the majority of American states that already have right to work laws, finally placing Missouri employers and employees on a level playing field with other states.


  • Missouri will be better able compete with neighboring right-to-work states in attracting businesses.
  • Existing unions will be more responsive to the concerns of members, thanks to the credible threat of members leaving the organization.
  • Employees will have greater control over their representation in negotiations with their employer.
  • Employers will have greater flexibility in managing their businesses and making their operations more successful.
  • Private employers are the focus, but similar laws in the public sector, like paycheck protection, should be pursued by policymakers as well.


Policy Study: A Primer on Government Labor Relations in Missouri

Op-Ed: Rise of the Roosevelt Law: Is Reform in Government Unions Coming to Missouri?


For a printable version of this article, click on the link below. You can also view the entire 2018 Missouri Blueprint online.

About the Author

Patrick Ishmael
Director of Government Accountability

Patrick Ishmael is the director of government accountability at the Show-Me Institute.

Graham Renz
Policy Analyst

Graham Renz is a policy analyst at the Show-Me Institute.