JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Republican senators proposing legislation to make Missouri a “right-to-work” state started their push Tuesday.

The measure — sponsored by Sen. Luann Ridgeway, R-Smithville — would prohibit workers from being forced to pay dues, fees or assessments to labor organizations, though it would exempt existing collective bargaining agreements until those agreements expire and must be renewed.

It would be a misdemeanor to require workers to pay fees or dues.

Supporters contend the legislation could help Missouri attract new businesses and would give employees more rights by allowing them to decide whether to pay for union representation.

But critics questioned whether new businesses are avoiding Missouri solely over the union policies and contend the bill could drive down workers’ wages and living standard.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved


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