Cole County Judge Rules that Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft's Ballot Language on the “Right-to-Work” Initiative is Insufficient and Unfair.

Cole County Judge Rules that Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft's Ballot Language on the “Right-to-Work” Initiative is Insufficient and Unfair. 

The Court’s ruling is a big win for working families. 

Jefferson City, MO - A Cole County judge has ordered a new ballot summary for a proposed Right-to-Work amendment to Missouri’s Constitution after the Missouri Secretary of State wrote a summary that was “insufficient” and “unfair” to Missouri voters. 

Under Missouri’s Constitution, the Missouri Secretary of State is afforded 100 words to describe a proposed ballot measure. In February 2021, the Liberty Alliance submitted an 85-word proposed amendment to enshrine so-called “Freedom to Work” in Missouri’s Constitution. But on Thursday, Cole County Judge Daniel Green wrote “the Secretary used only 41 words, not even half the number of words allowed by law and barely half the words in the Initiative Petition.” “It is clear to the Court the language of the summary statement is insufficient,” Judge Green wrote in his ruling.

“We have seen time and time again that politicians backed by greedy CEOs try to manipulate voters to vote for so-called right-to-work ballot initiative,” stated the plaintiff in the lawsuit Missouri AFL-CIO President Jacob Hummel. “Missouri voters have resoundingly voted no on right-to-work ballot initiative (Proposition A) in 2018 and now they are trying to play games with proposed ballot language to trick voters.”

Judge Green certified the following language for the ballot: Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to provide that every employee shall have the freedom to work without being forced to pay any fees to a union or join a union as a condition of employment, such that no person shall be required as a condition of employment or continued employment to: (1) become, remain, or refrain from becoming a member of a labor organization: or (2) pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other similar charges however denominated of any kind or amount to a labor organization or third party in lieu thereof?

By comparison, here was the Secretary's original summary: “Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to provide that every employee shall have the freedom to work without being forced to join or pay any fees to a union (labor organization) in order to gain or keep a job?”

This ballot initiative petition was submitted by an anti-worker group. The Missouri AFL-CIO has not heard of this group actively collecting signatures to put this ballot initiative on the ballot. As of right now, it will not be on the ballot in an upcoming election. 

“Secretary of State Ashcroft’s ballot language was yet another attempt by a politician to circumvent the will of Missouri voters,” stated United Food and Commercial Workers Union President Dave Cook. “Working families should celebrate this win in Court. But we must remain vigilant in defending our rights on the job.” 

“The fight against so-called right-to-work continues every single day in Missouri,” stated Missouri AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Merri Berry. “This is a good win for workers but our fights at every level of government continues. We must continue to engage and inform Missouri voters about the devastating impacts of so-called right-to-work.” 

###