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They will never concede defeat

Friday, Aug 10, 2018

* Organized labor in Missouri collected 310,000 signatures (more than three times the minimum requirement) to repeal that state’s so-called “right to work” law. The referendum was scheduled for an August vote because the GOP thought they’d have a better chance of beating it than they would in November. But labor spent millions and won the referendum 67-33. The Illinois Policy Institute’s Austin Berg tut-tuts the whole thing

Is this a sea change for unions in the Midwest? A signal that worker freedom will forever be squashed in non-right-to-work Illinois?


In fact, the union strategy in Illinois’ southwestern neighbor should leave some rank-and-file members scratching their heads. The victory was expensive, potentially short-lived and may even cut against some of the unions’ other political priorities. […]

The union-backed We Are Missouri Coalition raised more than $16 million from labor organizations and spent nearly $7 million on ads in July alone. They outspent two opposing groups combined by a nearly 5 to 1 margin, according to the Wall Street Journal’s analysis of state filings. […]

Unfortunately for union members who saw millions of dollars in dues money flow to this fight, that gamesmanship is still very much on the table. If Missouri Republicans hold on to their supermajorities in November, which is not unlikely, a right-to-work bill will certainly bubble up yet again in 2019. […]

Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is perhaps the most vulnerable Democratic senator in the country. Millions of union dollars that flowed to the right-to-work battle will no longer go to support her. And millions of dollars that weren’t spent trying to outmaneuver unions in that fight will flow to her opponent, Republican Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.

Despite the right-to-work proposition being the star of the primary election, Missouri Republicans cast about 60,000 more votes than Missouri Democrats statewide. That’s not a good sign for McCaskill.

So at the end of the day, what did union members get in exchange for millions of dollars?

An opportunity for union officials to pat themselves on the back, a weaker position in a key congressional race and a few more months, though possibly years, of compulsory dues.

Um, if Republicans cast 60,000 more votes than Democrats, that means a whole lot of rank and file Missouri Republicans sided with organized labor in the referendum. And when labor achieved the same sort of result in an Ohio “right to work” referendum, the GOP backed off their attacks on unions.

…Adding… From Austin Berg…

Hey Rich, I’m aware of the Ohio comparison and don’t take it lightly. The return of a right-to-work vote in Missouri was simply the mood among Republican operatives I spoke with for the column. This KCUR story also says as much. Re: turnout, agree to disagree on the implications for the Senate race.

This was obviously a win for Trumka and Co., but as the column says, it was expensive, potentially short-lived and could cut against other priorities. I wish all workers there had a choice on whether to fund fights like this.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:00 am:

    Ya lost.

    Like Rauner, the reality of the unpopularity of Right to Work isn’t the fault of anything but it’s not wanted.

  2. - Reality Check - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:01 am:

    Nobody’s asking them to concede defeat; the voters actually defeated them. Bigly.

    Anyway, crying about getting outspent is a strange position to take for these princelings of dark money.

  3. - Grand Avenue - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:02 am:

    Trumpism is not really anti-union, many union members love Trump and many unions are 100% behind the tariffs.

    I think Janus was the high water mark of the anti-labor movement and that the pendulum will start swinging in labor’s direction (apologies for mixing metaphors). They need to avoid a lot of the mistakes that made a lot of people turn against unions for a few decades though.

  4. - OneMan - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:03 am:

    Keep digging, that pony is in there someplace.

  5. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:04 am:

    Hilarious. Up is down, defeat is victory. That’s some fancy thinkin’-and-a-tankin’.

    How did this wizard not land in the governor’s office last summer during Rauner’s amour fou with IPI? He certainly has the chops that crew did.

  6. - PJ - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:05 am:

    There are fewer employers in the world than employees. They can dress up “right to work” however they want - it’s still union-busting, and the basic math is always going to favor unions. Like tax cuts for the rich, the heart of the position is always going to be unpopular. They can camouflage it for a time, but when people see the effects, they tend to be unhappy.

  7. - Former Downstater - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:05 am:

    “Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is perhaps the most vulnerable Democratic senator in the country. Millions of union dollars that flowed to the right-to-work battle will no longer go to support her.”

    They don’t understand how federal PAC fundraising works, do they?

  8. - Montrose - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:06 am:

    That shade of lipstick really doesn’t work with the pig’s skin tone.

  9. - Sir Reel - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:10 am:

    Interesting that IPI seems to think it’s A-OK for a Republican super majority to go against overwhelming public support. Says a lot about how Republicans view voters.

  10. - a drop in - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:12 am:

    Well, good luck with the Republican fundraising –

    “McCaskill rakes in nearly $3 million in third quarter, Hawley raises $820,760″

  11. - Leigh John-Ella - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:15 am:

    Corporate dark money groups put Eric Greitens in office to get right to work in MO. And now they want to complain about “big money” defeating them. They tried to pull one over on Missouri voters and got caught. Now the question is whether anyone learns anything from it here, there and everywhere else.

  12. - Natty_B - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:16 am:

    My mom worked as a election volunteer in deep red southeast Missouri. She said the Union turnout was off the charts and almost all asked for a non-partisan ballot. So the 60,000 is moot since most Union types didn’t ask for a R or D ballot. Also wouldn’t more R’s come out for their contested Primary for Senate?

  13. - Been There - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:24 am:

    ====They don’t understand how federal PAC fundraising works, do they?====
    Exactly. And while the $16 million is a lot of dough it only works out to around $70-$75 per union worker. And I would bet a lot of the $16 mil came from the national unions funds

  14. - Bruce (no not him) - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:26 am:

    There were over 937,000 No votes against RTW. 700,000 non-union members voted no. Somebody out there needs to realize the People aren’t the ones pushing this.
    “There are 244,000 actual union members in the state, while union contracts cover another 30,000 workers who are not members. The percentage of workers represented by unions stood at 11.1 percent last year, up from 10.6 percent in 2009.”

  15. - VanillaMan - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:30 am:

    It’s incredible that neither party was ready for the shift of the working class from the old Labor Democrats to the GOP. The Democrats turned away from enough blue-collar voters over the past 20 years to lose this voter bloc.

    But the GOP is still blathering on like this schmuck.

    You want to win elections guys? Start courting the blue collar voters. Quit the anti-union goofiness.

  16. - Jibba - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:38 am:

    Restaurant quality concern trolling for Claire McCaskill, for sure. But, you know, money seems to follow success in politics, so she just might find a crumb under her pillow.

  17. - TKMH - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:39 am:

    ==You want to win elections guys? Start courting the blue collar voters. Quit the anti-union goofiness.==

    If you haven’t, read Rick Perlstein’s book on Barry Goldwater and the conservative moment. The entire philosophy is based off a pathological hatred of union labor.

  18. - Flynn's Mom - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:41 am:

    So Trumpian.

  19. - Norseman - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:41 am:

    The propaganda network continues to spin. This was a message. The GOP money people will not accept this message. They’ll try again. We’ll see if the voters accept this farce or start taking it out on the GOP elected officials who bow to the cash men.

  20. - Sonny - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:45 am:

    IPI firmly grounded in their own weird reality.

  21. - Chicago 20 - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 11:56 am:

    Another example how the Republicans and the IPI advocate for the few in spite of what the vast majority desires.

    It’s a party of a few wealthy elites doing what’s best for themselves.

  22. - PublicServant - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 12:05 pm:

    Ideologues, especially “non-partisan” ideologues might never give up, but competent spinmasters, they aren’t.

  23. - Annonin' - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 12:11 pm:

    The anti RTW ads were simple and persuasive and talked about seriously lower wages in RTW states. Wages period, not just union wages. Guessin’ the whack jobs and folks like GovJunk don’t understand how lower wages is a bad thing.

  24. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 12:12 pm:

    IPI has always been a conclusions first operation, with a modest reputation for getting their facts straight.

    But this is just Spin 101. Regardless of who won, our side looks good because…

    And sometimes the best you can say is, we forced the other side to spend piles of money.

  25. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 12:43 pm:

    Republicans in the Missouri legislature scheduled this during the primaries because they thought it would help defeat the proposition. They were dead wrong and IPI is still screaming like a sentient @dril tweet, “I’m not owned, I’m not owned.”

  26. - BucknIrish - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 12:44 pm:

    ==I wish all workers there had a choice on whether to fund fights like this.==

    ==Unfortunately for union members who saw millions of dollars in dues money flow to this fight, that gamesmanship is still very much on the table. If Missouri Republicans hold on to their supermajorities in November, which is not unlikely, a right-to-work bill will certainly bubble up yet again in 2019.==

    So according to his logic, he would have union members vote, but then they could just be overruled by a “representative” body. Would he have a membership wide vote every time they had to make a spending decision?

  27. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 12:59 pm:

    Spinners gonna spin.

    It was a great win, because it’s in a red state. I love how so many people came together. I know there are serious differences between union members on the left and right, but this is a great win for all. Better jobs matter—nothing partisan about that. Having a stronger voice in one’s economic destiny matters. The super-rich who are against unions have lawyers and contractual agreements to ensure they get the deals they want. Why not workers?

  28. - BlueDogDem - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 1:06 pm:

    In 2000, 14% of Missouri’s workforce were union members. Today, that number is 8%. That’s with RTW. WHY bother.

  29. - BlueDogDem - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 1:07 pm:

    ….without RTW.

  30. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 1:17 pm:

    This Berg guy rarely misses the opportunity to be wrong.

  31. - Molly Maguire - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 2:29 pm:

    Austin Berg

  32. - Phil King - Friday, Aug 10, 18 @ 4:46 pm:


    Because unlike what you all think, right to work is not about busting unions. It’s about worker freedom and making unions have to earn their members just like any othe organization.

    If unions have to provide valuable services to get memebers, that makes them stronger advocates for workers.

    I’m pro union, pro worker, and pro right to work.

  33. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Monday, Aug 13, 18 @ 10:54 am:

    ==If unions have to provide valuable services to get memebers, that makes them stronger advocates for workers.==

    So someone can go from not having to pay for a good service, to not having to pay for a great service. I’m sure that will work out, Mr. Pro-union.

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