JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Missouri House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 19, also known as the Right To Work bill, in a 100 to 59 vote.
SB 19 creates new provisions of law relating to labor organizations, specifically barring the requirement of employees to become, remain or refrain from becoming a member of a labor organization or pay dues or other charges required of a labor organization members as a condition of employment.
The vote followed an hours-long debate on the floor from both sides of the issue.
Opponents of the bill claimed that the bill would lower wages and create unsafe working environments for employees. Supporters stressed giving employees the option to spend part of their salary on a union membership.
Representative Bruce Franks Junior, from Saint Louis, voted against the bill. He said the bill is a solution to a problem the state doesn't have.
"Unions have fought hard over time to make the workplace more workable, (get) better wages," Franks said.
Representative Holly Rehder sponsored the house version of the bill. Ultimately, the senate version passed both chambers.
"I've been working on this legislation since I got in the legislature a little over four years ago," Rehder said. "It's a huge win. It's a huge win for Missouri and Missouri working families."
The president for the Missouri AFL-CIO, Mike Louis, released a statement appealing to Gov. Greitens to veto the legislation.
"The working families of Missouri deserve the dignity of a decent life," the statement read. "It is completely reasonable to expect that when we are working, day in and day out working, that no one should have to worry about their wages affording them the ability to pay rent, put food on the table, pay their bills and be able to be part of their community by having a dinner out or a nice night at the movies.”
House Speaker Todd Richardson was in favor of the legislation. He said 'Right to Work' will put Missouri on a level playing field with other states.
“Right-to-Work will help us attract more job creators to our state, and it will promote healthy wage growth so that Missourians have the kind of family-supporting jobs they need and deserve,” said Richardson.
Senator Claire McCaskill also tweeted about Thursday's vote. McCaskill claimed Missouri created more jobs last year than any of the state's 'Right to Work' neighbors.