Graham RenzPatrick Ishmael

THE PROBLEM: Once a government union comes to power, it can stay in power indefinitely. No further elections are scheduled and no term limits are imposed. This means workers can do little to ensure their union truly represents their interests and is held accountable.

THE SOLUTION: Regular public union recertification elections.

Regular public union elections would give workers the right to elect union representation to fixed terms. Regular elections would help keep union actions in line with worker interests and lead to competition among unions. It would also help prevent backlash from union leadership in response to decertification petitions.1

WHO ELSE DOES IT? Currently, Wisconsin and Iowa require regular public union elections.

THE OPPORTUNITY: The Commonwealth Foundation recently gave Missouri a letter grade of ‘D’ regarding its public labor laws. Show-Me Institute research indicates that regular union elections need not be prohibitively expensive and offer a way to ensure that unions serve workers—not the other way around.


  • Public workers in Missouri should have the right to choose who represents them.
  • Regular elections would make unions more accountable to those they represent, just as regular government elections pressure politicians to be accountable to voters.
  • Regular elections can be held at a reasonable cost to taxpayers.


Policy Study: A Primer on Government Labor Relations in Missouri

Essay: The Low Cost of Labor Reform


For a printable version of this article, click on the link below. You can also view the entire 2018 Missouri Blueprint online.

About the Author

Graham Renz
Policy Analyst

Graham Renz is a policy analyst at the Show-Me Institute.

Patrick Ishmael
Director of Government Accountability

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