On February 6, 2017, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, as promised, signed legislation establishing right-to-work in Missouri. The specific language in the law signed by the governor is consistent with legislation vetoed last year by then-Gov. Jay Nixon.
In summary, the law provides that an employer, private or public, may not enter into an agreement or understanding that requires an employee to become, remain or refrain from becoming a member of a labor organization, or to pay dues, fees, assessments or similar charges to a labor organization. An employer who violates the law will be guilty of a misdemeanor, and any person injured shall be entitled to injunctive relief, as well as damages including costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees. The prosecuting attorney or circuit attorney with jurisdiction over the location in issue also has authority to investigate and prosecute violations of this law.
What This Means to You
The law contains no surprises. (See Husch Blackwell’s previous blog post Right-To-Work in Missouri – What Does It All Mean?) It does not void collective bargaining agreements. Employees are still subject to contractual agreements they may have with their union regarding submission of dues until they timely revoke that authority, which normally is annually or at the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement. Employees are often unaware of these commitments, which are usually made part of the membership card they sign soon after they are hired. Under a grandfather provision, an agreement entered into before the effective date of August 28, 2017, shall not be subject to the law until renewed, extended, amended or modified.