Labor and Industrial Relations Legislative Agenda
Protect and strengthen workers’ compensation reforms: The workers' compensation system serves as a mechanism to ensure employees are fairly and quickly compensated for workplace injuries. The Missouri Chamber supports reforms to the system to help reduce workers’ compensation insurance rates. These reforms should include proper validation of all claims and fairness in the system.
Restore standard of proof in workers’ compensation discrimination cases: In the recently decided Templemire, case the Missouri Supreme Court overturned a decades-old precedent and ruled that a plaintiff need only show a tenuous connection with his or her injury in order to prevail on a discrimination claim. The Missouri Chamber supports efforts to abrogate the Templemire decision and restore a more justice-centered standard of causation to workers’ compensation discrimination claims.
Unemployment insurance reform: Missouri’s fiscally unstable unemployment compensation system operates as a hindrance to economic growth. During the recession, Missouri took on huge amounts of debt from the federal government to fund the system. Employers paid expensive penalties to repay the federal government, which results in additional costs to employers. Also, the legal framework by which employees become eligible for unemployment compensation is fraught with pitfalls and case law holdings, which contribute to added costs for employers. The legal framework to qualify for unemployment should be modified and the state of Missouri should seek methods of repayment that are less costly than the present penalty model utilized against today’s employers. The Missouri Chamber was the lead advocate for legislation passed in 2014 to fix the state’s unemployment insurance system, only to have the measure struck down by the governor’s veto. The Missouri Chamber supports enacting these necessary changes in 2015.
Implement paycheck protection legislation: Employees should not be forced to forfeit a portion of their paychecks for political causes that they may not support. The Missouri Chamber supports Paycheck Protection legislation that would require labor unions to give employees an opportunity each year to opt out of contributing a portion of their wages to union political activities.
Implement Right-to-Work legislation: Employees should have the right to work in any job in the state without being compelled to join a labor union or to pay labor union dues as a condition of employment. The majority of neighboring states to Missouri have implemented right to work legislation. The Missouri Chamber supports legislation to ensure Missouri is a right-to-work state.
Reform project labor agreement requirements: There is no legitimate business reason for Missouri companies to be forced to utilize unionized labor as a term of a construction contract. Project labor agreements raise costs of construction projects and stifle free trade and competition. The Missouri Chamber supports reforming and/or banning the use of project labor agreements.
Reform Missouri’s prevailing wage law: Prevailing wage laws add unnecessary costs to taxpayer-funded construction projects. Employers who do not comply with prevailing wage laws can be prosecuted and heavily fined. The system by which the prevailing wage is reviewed, calculated and enforced must be reformed. Also, the definition of work covered by prevailing wage laws does not include maintenance. The Missouri Chamber should work to amend the law to ensure that prevailing wages are not required for maintenance work.
Protect employers from unfair and harmful workplace rules and mandates: The Missouri Chamber will work to educate and protect Missouri employers from unfair and harmful workplace rules and mandates that may provide undue burden or harm to an employer’s ability to attract and retain jobs. The Missouri Chamber will protect against federal and state workplace rules and mandates, such as exposing employers to new liabilities based on how they classify their employees and expanding or adding new classes to FMLA that do not exist in federal law.
Protect the secret ballot election process and oppose quickie union elections: The Missouri Chamber supports upholding the right for Missourians to vote by a secret ballot, and ultimately wants to protect Missouri workers so they may continue to have a voice to exercise in private during the employee representation process. The Missouri Chamber will work to protect employers and employees against the impact of the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (aka “Card Check”) at the federal level. The passage of this federal act would effectively eliminate the proven practice of holding free and fair secret ballot elections by allowing unions to collect employee signatures in public through a “card check” process.
Reform the state’s immigration policy: The Missouri Chamber supports legislation that would provide an incentive for Missouri businesses to utilize E-Verify by providing the employer an absolute bar from any state liability regarding the hiring of such employee if the employee provided false or misleading information regarding eligibility to work in the US.