Wednesday, May 30, 2007

NEA's press release on the Collective Bargaining decision

Missouri Supreme Court
gives educators bargaining rights
Ruling will allow educators to become a part of the decision-making process and make contracts binding.

In a historic decision May 29, the Missouri Supreme Court gave public employees, including teachers, the right to bargain collectively with employers.

The ruling supports Article 1, Section 29 in the Missouri Constitution, which provides “That employees shall have the right to organize and bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.”

“This is great news for all public employees, but it is especially good news for Missouri’s educators and students,” says Missouri NEA President Greg Jung. “This decision begins a new era in public education as it finally brings all the experts to the table and provides a means for collaborative decision making combined with accountability. Ultimately, the result is better working and learning conditions in Missouri schools.”

The ruling reverses a 1947 decision, Springfield vs. Clouse, whereby the Court ruled that the constitutional language did not apply to public employees, including teachers.

“Collective bargaining provides a fair process for educators to join with administrators at the decision-making table and holds all parties accountable for upholding the agreements they reach,” Jung says. “It allows employees to have a voice in negotiating their working conditions and students’ learning conditions. In addition, it provides for a rational, non-disruptive process to resolve disputes.”

In both the neighboring states of Iowa and Kansas, and 32 others, collective bargaining correlates with increased student achievement and a more stable workforce.

“MNEA believes that every child has the basic right to attend a great public school, and the court’s decision allows educators to have a voice in how that is accomplished,” Jung says.

Prior to this decision, some public employees in Missouri had meet-and-confer rights under RSMo 105.500. Teachers were specifically excluded from the provisions of this statute. Although educators were not included in the statute, many school districts in Missouri encourage positive employee relations by providing employees a legitimate voice in decision making.

from the MONEA website

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