Wisconsin and Missouri have become the latest states to place limits on the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) on taxpayer-funded construction projects.
On April 17, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed into law legislation that prohibits state and local governments from mandating PLAs on state, state-assisted and local construction projects but allows contractors to voluntarily execute PLAs with unions outside of the government’s competitive procurement process.
Gov. Walker issued this statement upon signing the bill:
“Accountable government means ensuring our taxpayers receive quality service,” Governor Walker said. “By forbidding state and local governments from requiring contractors to enter into agreements with labor organizations, we’re promoting healthy competition between contractors. At the end of the day, this means the contractor ultimately chosen for the project is the one that has demonstrated excellent service and will work at good value for Wisconsin taxpayers.”
In Missouri, legislation was passed and sent to the Governor that would also would ban local governments from assigning preferential treatment to PLAs. Governments that violate those provisions would lose state funding and tax credits for two years.
Governor Eric Greitens, a Republican, had listed the elimination of PLAs among his labor reform priorities.
He already signed a “right to work” bill into law earlier this year, which prohibits unions from collecting dues as a condition of employment — a long-sought policy change for the Missouri GOP.
“We must do away with expensive Project Labor Agreements that drive up the costs of construction and slow down important projects in our communities,” Greitens said in his State of the State speech in January.