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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Illinois Will Soon Be Surrounded By Right-To-Work States

Flickr user Jobs With Justice/CC 2.0

Missouri will no longer require workers who benefit from collective bargaining to pay union dues. That means Illinois is going to be surrounded by so-called right-to-work states.

Experts aren't sure what that means for the economy in formerly big-labor states. Gary Burtless is a labor economist with the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. He says right-to-work states have weaker unions, but he's not sure which leads to which.

“Whether they’re weaker because they were weaker to begin with, and the right-to-work law just is the proof that they’re weak politically as well as economically weak is the question.”

The political ramifications are more straightforward. Unions are among the main financial backers of the Democratic Party.

Missouri's governor is expected to sign the bill into law today, while U.S. Congressional Republicans are pushing for national right-to-work legislation.