The Missouri Legislature has passed a bill to place new requirements on public sector unions.

The move comes after frantic action took place on the measure within a 24-hour period as the Legislative session winds down.

The bill calls on public unions to hold recertification elections every three years.  A majority of employees in a workplace would have to vote in favor of the unions in order for them to remain certified. Correction workers, police, firefighters and other public emergency personnel would not be subject to the recertification process.

The measure also allows for 30% of a work place’s employees to call for an election to create or break-up a union.

Republicans, who mostly supported the measure, say it would make public sector unions more accountable to the employees they represent and would better protect workers’ rights.  Democrats, who almost universally oppose the plan, say it could diminish unions’ ability to negotiate for higher wages.

The bill originally approved in the House would prohibit public sector unions from deducting employee pay to cover union dues or fees.  It also would bar them from using dues or fees to make political campaign contributions.

The measure would further require public labor organizations to keep financial records, identical to those required by federal law for at least five years.  The records would have to be available to employees in a searchable electronic format.

A flurry of activity in a short period of time will send the bill to the governor’s desk.  The measure passed the Senate 21-11 late Wednesday after being debated and set aside last month.  The bill then came back with changes to the House, which passed it 87-62 Thursday.