By Sahid Fawaz
Labor unions have a new ally in Missouri.
"Voters will decide in less than a week whether Missouri will become a right-to-work state, potentially weakening unions.
It isn't just union members and labor groups opposing Proposition A: Environmentalists are standing against the right-to-work proposition as well.
Dennis Roach, a former engineer and union member and a current member of the Sierra Club, said unions are on the front line of environmental protection and were created to address issues of workplace safety.
'I know from my work history," he said, "that unions are a very important line of defense against harmful pollution and chemical spills and other accidents that could devastate a community or injure a worker.'
The vote on Proposition A will take place Aug. 7.
Under right-to-work rules, unions can't require employees to pay dues, even though the union would continue to represent them in such issues as collective bargaining. Supporters of the initiative say it would attract businesses to Missouri and grow the state's economy.
Peggy Cochran, former executive director of the Missouri National Education Association and a current Sierra Club member, said unions are critical for protecting whistleblowers, such as teachers who find mold in their classrooms or employees who find out their company is polluting a nearby river.
'Those people are the ones who've been shut down, who've been threatened or whatever, and they got the courage because they got the union strength and the union voice behind them,' she said. 'They've got the strength to come on out and make those kinds of reports.'"
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