Gov. Eric Greitens on Tuesday signed into law a measure that will prevent Missouri cities from requiring union-level wages for public construction projects. The Republican governor said the move will ensure more efficiency for taxpayers, but critics say it’s the latest in a series of moves by the new governor to weaken unions.
The law effectively bans tax-funded building projects undertaken by local governments from using “project labor agreements,” or PLAs, under which workers are guaranteed to be paid at least union wages for their work. Now, Missouri cities and counties that require PLAs could be penalized with the loss of state funding or tax credits.
Republicans have long argued that PLAs force non-union companies out of negotiations and result in more expensive public projects due to mandatory higher union wages.
Democrats say that PLAs help to weed out faulty contractors and ensure projects get completed by talented, highly paid workers.
Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor and former Republican presidential candidate who earned a reputation for challenging unions in his state, joined Greitens for the bill signing.