- Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has signed legislation that bans local governments from requiring project labor agreements on publicly funded construction projects, according to the Associated Press.
- Greitens and other state Republicans said the PLA requirement pushes the cost of construction higher and discourages job growth. The governor campaigned on creating a more business-friendly environment in the state by pushing open-shop policies.
- The new law, which will go into effect on Aug. 28, has received pushback from Democrats, who warned that the legislation could result in lower wages and a substandard quality of work.
In February, Missouri joined 27 other states by enacting another piece of open-shop-related legislation, becoming the 28th right-to-work state. That measure banned project officials from requiring that nonunion workers pay union dues when working on union projects. While Republicans said it would create a business-friendly environment in the state, union representatives said the law was intended to weaken union influence and would decrease wages and workplace safety conditions.
In April, Iowa and Wisconsin governors signed legislation that made them states No. 22 and No. 23 to ban mandatory PLAs on state and local construction projects. Opponents of PLAs say that they prevent full participation by nonunion contractors and workers because of the union rules that typically dominate the agreements.
However, advocates of PLAs argue that the contracts allow unions to secure higher wages for all workers, regardless of union affiliation. Some companies, however, enter into PLAs voluntarily in order to ensure a steady supply of qualified workers in this environment of skilled-labor shortages. If the project is government-funded, having access to local workers is also a benefit as those entities often require a certain percentage of resident participation.
Not long after the presidential inauguration, some industry groups called on President Donald Trump to repeal President Barack Obama’s 2009 Executive Order 13502, which encourages government agencies to require PLAs on projects valued at more than $25 million. So far, Trump has not taken action on the issue.