ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The Missouri Legislature is expected to consider right-to-work legislation when it meets in January and the state’s lieutenant governor says the legislation is likely to pass.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder predicts the House and Senate will pass a plan to allow Missouri voters to decide the issue on the November 2014 ballot.

“Passage is assured in the House, the votes are there in the Senate, and I believe we stand an excellent chance at making this progress for Missouri in 2014,” he said Monday.

Kinder argues that the strength of Missouri’s labor unions is causing the state to fall behind economically.

“Missouri is surrounded, six of our eight neighboring states are right-to-work states,” he said. “When I was growing up in southeast Missouri, Tennessee was not ahead of Missouri in any economic indicator. They are today.”

Under right-to-work legislation, labor unions could not require workers to pay mandatory bargaining fees. Indiana and Michigan have approved such laws in recent years.

Opponents of right-to-work argue that anything which weakens labor unions in Missouri will lower wages and benefits of workers.

When asked if Missouri’s status as a right-to-work state would have improved its odds of being chosen by Boeing to build the 777X airliner, Kinder was timid.

“I don’t think that’s the way to frame the issue,” he said. “I think it would help our chances if we were a right-to-work state but Boeing has a long history with the machinists’ union here of doing great work and right-to-work is not against unions.”

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