Right-to-work holdouts face new efforts to change labor laws

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FILE – In this Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, file photo, Rick Twitty installs seats into 2012 Toyota Highlander vehicles at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, Inc., plant in Princeton, Ind. On Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, Toyota said it will add 400 jobs and invest $600 million at the Princeton SUV factory. The announcement Tuesday comes […]

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) – A handful of states in the Midwest now surrounded by neighbors with so-called right-to-work laws are facing new efforts aimed at changing their labor laws.

In Ohio, two Republican lawmakers want to put the issue before voters in two years. Missouri’s new right-to-work law will go to a statewide referendum in November.

It was just under six years ago that Indiana became the first Rust Belt state to enact right-to-work by blocking mandatory union fees in workplaces.

More followed suit, leaving Ohio, Illinois and Missouri nearly surrounded.

Right-to-work backers in those three states contend they’re now at a disadvantage because they believe the laws make nearby states more business friendly and attract jobs.

But union leaders argue that right-to-work rules mean lower wages and less protection for workers.

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