CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Missouri voters have cast their ballots and have rejected Proposition A.
A state lawmaker argued it will be better for new businesses. A longtime union member from southeast Missouri says it's harmful to the working class.
These are respectively two arguments for and against the statewide 'right to work' ballot issue. However, the vote of "No" has canceled the proposed change, so union membership laws would stay in place.
Representative Donna Lichtenegger, a Republican in Missouri's House from Jackson is encouraged people to vote yes.
Lichtenegger had been working to get it passed for a while and believes union bosses are 'corrupt' and not looking out for their workers.
"This is an important vote for me. In 1978 it did go on the ballot and we lost," Lichtenegger said. "That is because 39 percent of the state of Missouri in 1978 were unions. It's 8.7 percent now. So what does that tell you? Different ball game."
Ed Dooley, a carpenter and longtime union member from Scott City wanted people to vote 'No.' Dooley admits that membership in unions has declined across the country, but says he and many others are fighting to save the bargaining power that comes with being in a union.
"When you lose something it's hard to get it back," Dooley said. "People want to feel that they are being paid for what they are worth, and you have to fight for that yourself. It's not just the union bosses that are fighting for that, but members too."
Rep. Lichtenegger argued confirming the right-to-work law would give workers more freedom and encourage new businesses to come to Missouri.
"The companies know that they don't have to fool with the unions. I had no idea, but that is a big deal to them," Lichtenegger said. "They will pay the skilled workers the money that they should be paid and that has been proven in a lot of the right to work states. They may have started lower but then they've caught up."
Dooley argued that union jobs in Missouri right now pay better and have better benefits than in surrounding states that have passed "right to work."
"I'm concerned about the 30 to 40 families that this company that I work for supports," Dooley said. "They are not going to take $8,700 from you right away. What is going to happen is you're not going to get that next raise. You're not going to get the benefits and so slowly overtime that money is going to be taken away from families."