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Missouri Legislature Moves to Curtail Project Labor Agreements on Government Work

As part of a nationwide push, Republicans in Missouri have now voted to bar local governments from “tipping the scales” when it comes to so-called “project labor agreements” on construction sites across the state.

The governor is expected to sign the measure, which he asked lawmakers to put on his desk as soon as possible.

A project labor agreement, or PLA, is a collective bargaining agreement put in place prior to the hiring of any contractors or workers for a high-rise building or some other type of construction. Via US News and World Report:

“Counties, cities and other local governments currently have the option to issue bid requirements mandating union working conditions for contractors if less than half a project's funds come from the state. The bill, which passed the House 104-52, would prohibit that.

“The legislation also wouldn't allow local governments to give preferential treatment to union contractors. Governments that violate those provisions would lose state funding and tax credits for two years.

“Supporters argue ending project labor agreements will give non-union contractors more opportunities in bidding for public construction jobs and lower the cost of those projects.

“O'Fallon Republican Rep. John Wiemann said the measure will ‘level the playing field for all contractors.’”

Democrats object to the bill, arguing that the agreements protect workers regardless of which contractors are eventually hired.

Texas Republicans are advancing a similar measure, which seems on track for passage. We’ll keep an eye on its progress.