Public Labor Agreements No Longer Required in Missouri

Sep 29, 2017

PLAs are no longer required for government projects In Missouri.

Public Labor Agreements (PLAs) require contractors working for public entities to adhere to certain labor relation requirements. Traditionally this has meant that contractors must work with organized labor.

The Missouri legislature has passed, and the governor has signed Senate Bill No. 182 which ends this requirement for state and local government contracts in Missouri. Michael Wilson discusses the ramifications of this law in the Nuts & Bolts/Construction Law Blog.

The act affects public entities at all levels, from state government to local school districts. “The new section 34.209.1(1) prevents the public entity from requiring or prohibiting “bidders, offerors, contractors, or subcontractors to enter into or adhere to agreements with one or more labor organizations on the same or related projects.”

The law also applies to “grants, tax abatements and tax credits awarded by a Missouri public entity.”

Mr. Wilson makes it clear the new act does not prohibit parties to a government contract from voluntarily agreeing to “collective bargaining or a PLA.”

Under the new law, public entities may require mandatory drug testing for the employees of contractors working on their projects. As the author notes, it is highly unusual for government agencies to be given this authority. “The full implications of this subsection are unknown.”

The act has teeth. Public entities that violate its requirements are subject to temporary restraining orders, injunctions, and liability “for the attorneys’ fees of the party filing suit.”  Prosecuting attorneys have the authority to investigate complaints concerning possible violations of the act.

Senate Bill No. 182 is controversial. It establishes requirements that are significantly different from the labor regulations included in contracts with the federal government and many, if not most, other states.

Litigation over this issue is certain to ensue.

Source—

New Missouri law will restrict pubic-entity mandated project labor agreements on public works projects, Michael Wilson, Nuts & Bolts/Construction Law Blog, June 8, 2017.