Editorials

Right to work is wrong for Missouri, but right on for Illinois

On Aug. 7 our union friends in Missouri go to the polls to try to roll back their state’s right-to-work law, pushing for “No on Prop A.”

We here in Illinois hope they succeed.

If you are pro-union, you hope your fellow workers in Missouri get the wage protections they claim are central to the labor movement.

If you are in the 85 percent of the Illinois workforce that is not in a union, you hope the effort succeeds because Illinois’ economy could use a break.

Illinois is surrounded by right-to-work states, which are a lot more attractive to employers than a state with the highest tax rates in the nation. The Land of Lincoln still lags in recession recovery and is losing its working-age population, taking their taxpaying abilities with them and leaving an ever-increasing burden behind.

The problem is acute here where the Gateway Arch casts its evening shadow. St. Clair County lost nearly 8,000 working residents from 2010 to 2017. Madison County lost nearly 4,000.

All those ads saturating St. Louis media are because millions are being funneled into Missouri from across the nation. Organized labor is treating this as its final, desperate battle.

Unions are reeling from the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus decision, which said public employees cannot be forced to pay union dues. The decision was essentially a backlash to unions’ political activities being out of step with workers’ beliefs.

Janus originated here in Illinois, where we are oh-so-blue and union dollars have fueled the Madigan Dynasty. In turn, state Democrats have rewarded Illinois’ AFSCME state workers with the highest wages in the nation, double what we average Illinoisans make.

Janus was a potential lifeline for Illinois. Making Missouri’s job market less attractive by killing Prop A might be a lifeline for those of us still here in southwestern Illinois.

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