Patrick IshmaelPhilip Oehlerking

Following the passage of HB 1413 and in light of the success of our Checkbook projects, we are pleased to share with you our latest "big data" undertaking, the Show-Me CBAs Project. For those unfamiliar, the Missouri legislature passed HB 1413 earlier this year to reform much of the state's public sector labor laws. Part of the bill sets out clear rules for how collective bargaining agreements, or "CBAs," are to be negotiated between government and many unions. Those CBAs often set forth the salary and benefits of employees who aren't even members of the union and who may, instead, want to negotiate their own salaries based on merit; for some of these employees, HB 1413's CBA rules could functionally offer them that opportunity.

One big problem, however, is that many of these agreements are effectively unknown to the public, and to date there hasn't been a concerted effort to gather these local agreements and their variations, including memoranda of understanding and other, less-formalized agreements between labor organizations and government. Hundreds of these agreements could be out there, and yet research in this area is surprisingly sparse.

That's where the Show-Me CBAs Project comes in. By gathering these bargaining agreements, we hope to make it easier for the public to see what their elected representatives have committed taxpayers to in the past, In addition, the Project can also make compliance with HB 1413 an easier undertaking both for government workers and for government regulators charged with implementing HB 1413's reforms. This project is ongoing, and to date, the Institute has already gathered over a hundred bargaining records, available here. But more are on the way. Stay tuned.

About the Author

Patrick Ishmael
Director of Government Accountability

Patrick Ishmael is the director of government accountability at the Show-Me Institute.

Philip Oehlerking
Research Assistant

Philip Oehlerking graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in political science. His research interests include transportation policy and government transparency.