Collective bargaining FAQs

Missouri’s collective bargaining timeline

 


1945

Missouri Constitution, Article 1, Section 29, declares:
In order to assert our rights, acknowledge our duties, and proclaim the principles on which our government is founded, we declare: . . . [t]hat employees shall have the right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.

1947

Missouri Supreme Court rules in City of Springfield vs. Clouse that collective bargaining constitutional guarantee does not include public employees.

1965

Public Employee Labor Law gives certain public employees the right to “meet and confer” with employers to discuss salaries and other conditions of employment.

1982

Missouri Supreme Court rules in Sumpter vs. City of Moberly that any agreement reached through the Public Sector Labor Law meet-and-confer process is not binding upon the public employer and, therefore, the employer may unilaterally rescind the agreement at any time.

2007

In Independence NEA vs. Independence School District, Missouri Supreme Court overrules in Sumpter vs. City of Moberly and City of Springfield vs. Clouse -- giving all public employees, including teachers, the right to bargain collectively and reach binding agreements.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Attend this year’s MNEA Summer Academy, “Purpose, Power, Pride” (P3). This year MNEA’s summer training will focus on collective bargaining and how it can benefit you, other members and your local associations. Training will cover preparation for bargaining, how to bargain and a whole host of related subjects designed to increase your locals capacity to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Supreme Court decision. Sessions are geared to all different local sizes, locations and stages of local development.
  2. Make your voice heard in your local. Contact your local leaders and building representatives to learn how the local association is responding. Let them know what your priorities are for bargaining an agreement with your school district.
  3. Stay informed. Visit the MNEA Web site for continuous updates on collective bargaining in Missouri.
  4. Contact the governor and your legislators. Let them know that collective bargaining for Missouri’s education professionals is a valuable step toward great public schools for every student. Education employees, the experts who make Missouri schools work, will have a real voice at the table.

Collective bargaining FAQs

 

Why is this different from what our district is currently doing?
This decision makes the agreements reached with districts legally binding.

What affect does the Supreme Court’s decision have on the current law?
This decision restores to public employees the right given to them by the Missouri Constitution – the right to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing. Under current law, certain public employees were excluded from exercising that right. In addition, the decision makes clear that agreements made with school employees are honored as is outlined in current contract law.

We will be able to bargain right away?
Yes.

What types of issues can be bargained?
Generally bargaining can include anything the parties agree to discuss to improve learning and working conditions, unless somehow limited by state statute. In many school districts in states where bargaining occurs, issues such as salary, benefits, class size, textbooks, teaching assignments, discipline policies, time for professional development, and adequate equipment and supplies have been bargained.

Does exclusive representation shut some employees out of the process?
There’s nothing in this decision that would change Missouri NEA’s dedication to public school employees. It would only change the process by which employees can fairly negotiate with their employers. The exclusive representative (the organization elected to bargain the contract) has a duty to represent the employees in the bargaining unit in matters related to the contract and collective bargaining. All employees in the bargaining unit have a voice in selecting the organization that will represent all employees, just as citizens have a voice in the selection of legislators and members of school boards.

Will collective bargaining cost districts more?
Collective bargaining doesn’t cost school districts. The intent of collective bargaining is to create an environment that allows the employees to engage in discussions with school district administrators as equals to improve learning conditions for students and working conditions for employees. If school districts elect to bring in outside attorneys to bargain with the employees, there could be extra costs. Collective bargaining works best when the local employees and school district administrators work together to resolve issues related to their schools. In those instances where the local parties are unable to resolve issues mutually, the parties may employ an independent arbitrator to help them resolve issues. In those instances, there may be some additional cost.

Will collective bargaining raise our taxes?
Any decisions about taxes will be made in the way they have always been made -- by local communities coming together and deciding what's best for their schools. We don't want to change that. That's not what this Supreme Court decision is about. This is about the fairness of public employees, like teachers, having the same rights as everybody else.

Will teachers now be able to strike?
Missouri has one of the toughest anti strike laws for public employees in the country. Missouri NEA does not want to change that. MNEA wants to establish a process where public employees can negotiate fairly with their employers, and when needed, disputes would be decided by a neutral third party, not by strikes.  


More information
 

 

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