How to Fix the Evergreen Clause
I previously wrote about how less than 16 percent of home care workers were able to force the rest of the people involved in that program to accept representation from the Missouri Home Care Union. If you followed that issue I doubt you’ll be surprised to hear that when the union negotiated a contract with the state it made sure to include an evergreen clause in the deal. An evergreen clause makes a labor agreement, and all of the work rules and policies provided for in that agreement, unchangeable without the union’s consent.
This Agreement shall take effect upon signature of the Parties and shall run for a period of thirty (30) months. If a successor Agreement has not been reached upon the expiration of this Agreement, the Agreement will continue in effect until a successor Agreement is finalized.
This is how an evergreen clause works. The agreement has a term, in this case 30 months, but after that term is up, the policies set by the agreement remain in effect until both parties settle on a new agreement. In this way, a union that wins a contract with an evergreen clause gets veto power over any new policies proposed by government representatives or the people. This shift of power from democracy to union negotiations is the real danger.
Senate Bill 549 aims to correct this egregious practice by limiting government labor agreements to a term of two years. If it passes and the courts decide to apply it correctly, then it’ll be a big win for anyone interested in good, flexible, democratically accountable government.