Sunday, February 12, 2017
Ron Richard: We're not done slapping around unions yet
To say it has been a big week for labor reform in Missouri is an understatement. On Monday, the governor signed Senate Bill 19 into law, officially making Missouri the 28th Right to Work state. This was years in the making, and I believe it will lead to great things for the Show-Me State and exciting opportunities for our citizens. That same day, my Senate colleagues and I began debating another important labor reform measure — Senate Bill 182, which will end the discriminatory and unfair practices of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs).
Missouri taxpayers deserve the best product for the best cost, but PLAs drive up the cost of construction by effectively ensuring that all work on a public project is completed by union contractors or non-union contractors who will yield to union demands. Project Labor Agreements place unreasonable terms and conditions to limit fair competition. They are not equitable to all contractors, and they are a detriment to the free market.
If signed into law, SB 182 will remove the current 50 percent state funding threshold for political subdivisions and labor agreements and prohibit bidders from entering into those types of agreements. It will also ensure all contractors get a chance to bid on a project. By eliminating union-only PLAs, we will open the door to private sector bidding on government construction projects and encourage more responsible stewardship of taxpayer money.
In other news, a considerable number of Missouri’s more than 200 public boards and commissions currently have vacancies that the governor is trying to fill. From managing our state’s universities to advocating on behalf of our children and seniors, the men and women who serve on these boards and commissions are essential to the myriad functions of state government.
Every one of us has the ability to serve our state in some capacity, but many people are unaware of what opportunities are out there. If you are interested in serving the State of Missouri on a board or commission, I encourage you to review the Missouri Boards and Commissions website at www.boards.mo.gov. You may also contact Josh Foster in my office for more details (573-522-7972 or firstname.lastname@example.org).