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Author Topic: MO Supreme Court ruling  (Read 748 times)

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Offline Eeyore

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MO Supreme Court ruling
« on: June 02, 2007, 03:14:09 AM »

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http://www.krcg.com/news/news_story.aspx?id=36895

MO Supreme Court ruling
The court on Tuesday reversed a position it held for 60 years, which prohibited public employees from bargaining with their government employers.

 
 
By Kermit Miller
Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 9:54 PM

JEFFERSON CITY -- 

Is the Missouri Supreme Court ruling on collective bargaining for public employees a win for their unions, or is it the first step toward slamming the door for good?

The court on Tuesday reversed a position it held for 60 years, which prohibited public employees from bargaining with their government employers.  The court says those employers are not now obligated to negotiate employment terms or policy decisions.  But once they do, those agreements are enforceable by law.

Greg Jung is the president of the Missouri National Education Association (NEA).  "What this really means is teachers now have the right to go to the table and make decisions with the administrators in those districts...and that's exciting," says Jung.

On Wednesday, Jefferson City Schools superintendent Bert Kimble spent some time reading over the court's ruling.  "What that means is yet to be determined," he says.

Kimble says JC administrators have always kept the door open to teacher organizations such as NEA, Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) for conversations about district policy.  "It probably could be seen by some as negotiations, but it's been a sharing of information," says Kimble.

The court's decision provides no real leverage for unions.  For example, strikes are still prohibited.  "This decision doesn't change that and we're not advocating to change that," says Jung.

Jung thinks the legislature must now write some law to define the process for discussions.  However, some observers say it's more likely the republican majority at the Capitol will now put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to outlaw collective bargaining for public employees once and for all.  Governor Blunt blasted the court's decision as the latest example of "activist judges" legislating from the bench.  "I think this a very poor ruling.  It undermines previous case law...and the will of Missourians, says Blunt.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development says the state has more than 390,000 public-sector employees, including more than 68,000 public school teachers, who could get expanded collective bargaining power under the court's ruling.
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