On Friday, August 18, just as the sun was coming up on the Show-Me state, Carpenters across Missouri were boarding buses, piling into cars and hitting the roads to Jefferson City. Thousands of people from every walk of life descended on the state Capitol to make history – turning over 310,567 petition signature from citizens demanding a public vote on a hugely controversial law that affects their lives, but was passed without their input.
“I’m just one guy. I don’t have a big political contribution to give. I have myself to give,” said Don Griffith of Carpenters Local 97.
At the center of the fury is the unprecedented amounts of money that have been pumped into passing “Right to Work” and filling the coffers of right-wing lawmakers who pushed it through. It is expected that not tens of million, but hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent in Missouri over the coming year leading up to the November 2018 statewide vote.
In response to all the mega donors and out-of-state money fueling the fight, a grassroots campaign called 8 for 8 has been set up; collecting $8 from working families who want to defeat RTW.
Don Williams (Local 1310) brought his three-year-old granddaughter to the rally. “There’s just something about a crowd like this and supporting it. I wanted her to be here, be a part of this and keep it alive.”
Mary Baker and her husband, William (Local 97), made a two-hour trip to the state Capitol to witness history. “The size of this crowd is impressive and I think we can beat this if we can get people to come out and vote,” she said.
In all, 163 boxes containing 57,277 pages of signatures were delivered to the secretary of state’s office. A legal battle over referendum language is being fought in the courts as pro-RTW groups attempt to keep the law intact. It will take weeks to certify all
300,000 -plus signatures, but for now, the “Right to Work” law passed in February remains on hold.
“I do believe that with what we delivered today, and in the short amount of time that we did, I think we should be able to now get the rest of Missouri to see how important this is,” Griffith said. “It will affect them all.”