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 inflated worker's compensation insurance rates. These reforms should include proper validation of all claims and ensure fairness in the system.

Reform unemployment compensation system:

Missouri’s unemployment compensation system operates as a hindrance to economic growth. During the recession the State of Missouri took on huge amounts of debt from the federal government to fund the system. The debt remains unpaid and employers are paying expensive penalties to repay the federal government which results in additional costs to employers at a time when our economy remains fragile. 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.

Implement Right-to-Work:

 Employees should have the right to work in any job in the state of Missouri 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 implemented right to work legislation which places Missouri businesses at an economic disadvantage to those situated in states with right to work protections. 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 part or parcel of any 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 did not include maintenance. The Missouri Chamber should 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 on how they classify their employees and the potential for the National Labor Relations Board to increase their regulatory oversight and negatively impact Missouri employers and their ability to compete.

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 protect Missouri workers so they may continue to have a voice to exercise in private during the employee representation process. Such a position has the potential to protect against the impact of the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act ( 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. It would allow a bargaining unit to be formed if more than 50% of workers sign cards. The Employee Free Choice Act would also put government regulators in charge of private business decisions via binding arbitration.