NEWS RELEASE: Court favors Springfield NEA in MSTA lawsuit regarding exclusive representation


From the Missouri National Education Association
1810 E. Elm St., Jefferson City, MO 65101

For further information: 
Jacquie Shipma, Missouri NEA General Counsel 
(573) 634-3202, (573) 644-9613

Oct. 29, 2014

Greene County Court Circuit Judge Michael Cordonnier issued a judgment in favor of the Springfield National Education Association and the Springfield School District in a lawsuit brought by the Missouri State Teacher Association, its Springfield local affiliate and three officers of the local affiliate.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision reinforcing educators’ right to organize collectively and elect representatives to advocate for them in the collective bargaining process,” says Charles E. Smith, Missouri NEA president and a teacher on leave from the Center School District.

The district’s teachers elected the Springfield NEA over SMSTA to be the exclusive collective bargaining representative in 2010. In the lawsuit, the SMSTA claimed that a school district policy allowing teachers to choose an exclusive bargaining representative was unconstitutional. The Judge rejected this claim and upheld the school district’s policy.

In addition, SMSTA claimed that the practice of the SNEA in allowing only members of the bargaining representative union to vote on approval or ratification of an agreement negotiated with the district was unconstitutional. Judge Cordonnier also rejected this claim and upheld the ratification process.

On the ratification issue, the court followed the lead of the Missouri Supreme Court in its 2012 decision in American Federation of Teachers v. Ledbetter in looking to federal labor law to give meaning to the guarantee of the right to collective bargaining in Article I, Section 29 of the Missouri Constitution. The court found that the union solely determines the method an exclusive bargaining representative uses to obtain ratification of a collective bargaining agreement. Any attempt by the employer to insist upon a particular method or means of ratification would be a violation of the employer's duty to bargain in good faith.

The court denied Plaintiff's claim that allowing an exclusive bargaining representative is unconstitutional, citing the 2007 Independence National Education Association v. Independence School District case and various other state and federal cases as authority.

The decision also notes that in some other school districts, MSTA affiliates serve as an exclusive bargaining representative and limit ratification to its own members.

The 35,000-member MNEA represents teachers, education support professionals, college faculty, retired teachers and students studying to be teachers in school districts and on college campuses throughout the state. It is the Missouri affiliate of the 3.2 million-member NEA. 


Posted Date: 10/29/2014
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