NEWS RELEASE: Columbia Teachers Win Injunction Against Anti-Union Law

Preliminary Injunction Requires Columbia Public Schools to Continue Recognition of Union and Return to Bargaining Table

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2019

From the Missouri National Education Association

For further information: 
Mark Jones
Phone: 
(573) 508-8528
Email: 
mark.jones@mnea.org 


Columbia, Missouri – – Today, the Boone County Circuit Court ruled in favor of teachers represented by the Columbia National Education Association by issuing a preliminary injunction that requires the Columbia School District to continue to recognize the CMNEA and bargain in good faith with it for a new labor agreement. The court rejected the District’s argument that it was required to comply with the new labor law, HB 1413, despite the fact that the State has been preliminarily enjoined from enforcing this law.

CMNEA filed a lawsuit and sought a preliminary injunction due to CPS insisting it would terminate CMNEA's status as the collective bargaining representative of teachers unless the union obtained certification from the State Board of Mediation before June 30, 2019. CPS negotiators in bargaining sessions admitted it would be impossible for the union to meet this condition because of a March order issued by the St. Louis Circuit Court preventing the State Board of Mediation from holding certification elections or enforcing any part of HB 1413. The Court held that in the absence of a functioning election procedure, Article I, Section 29 of the Missouri Constitution requires the District to continue to recognize and bargain with the CMNEA.

"Columbia Public Schools has chosen to act out of the mainstream by becoming a standard bearer for this anti-union legislation," said CMNEA President Kathy Steinhoff, a math teacher at Hickman High School. "Columbia teachers chose CMNEA as their exclusive representative to bargain a fair contract and work to enforce that contract throughout the school year. The district's efforts to restrict teachers is distracting from what matters most - our students. We look forward to returning to the bargaining table and working to ensure educators have the support and resources to help every Columbia student reach their full potential."

Today's decision is a pivotal legal win for union members seeking to protect Missourian’s constitutional right to collectively bargain. In March, St Louis Circuit Court Judge Joseph Walsh noted that HB 1413 infringed on worker’s rights stating, “In sum, a system like HB 1413 – in which very few conditions of employment are subject to meaningful bargaining, and the few conditions over which the parties can negotiate may be unilaterally abrogated by management – does not even give an illusion of collective bargaining.”

"Teachers chose CMNEA as their bargaining representative in a 2012 election," said Kristen Burkemper a Battle Elementary School librarian and CMNEA's bargaining chair. "The Missouri Legislature attempted to curtail our voice and constitutional rights by passing HB 1413; unfortunately, Columbia Public Schools is acting as their accomplice seeking to undermine teachers' voice and advocacy for students."

Today’s decision issued by Judge Jodie Asel in the Boone County Circuit Court prevents CPS from relying on any provisions of HB 1413 to deny teachers’ constitutional rights until the dissolution of any injunction against the State or a final judgment in of the Missouri Supreme Court in the St. Louis Circuit Court Case, whichever happens first.


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The Columbia Missouri National Education Association represents educators in the Columbia School District.
The 32,000-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.
Both are affiliates of the 3 million-member National Education Association.
  




Background:

  • HB 1413 was part of a slew of unpopular, anti-labor measures signed into law by the then-governor Eric Greitens only hours before he resigned. Greitens signed this assault on employee rights along with several other bills like prevailing wage decreases and a measure moving so-called “right-to-work” to the August ballot, where it was overwhelmingly defeated.
  • On March 8, 2019, Judge Walsh in the Circuit Court based in St. Louis County enjoined the State of Missouri from enforcing any portion of the law CPS is attempting to enforce. The Court ruled the law is likely unconstitutional and that the union was likely to prevail in showing that HB 1413 violates their rights to collective bargaining, free speech, and equal protection under the Missouri Constitution. Judge Walsh also agreed that the plaintiffs faced irreparable harm from the unconstitutional provisions of HB 1413.
  • The April lawsuit alleges Columbia Public Schools bargained in bad faith during recent contract negotiations in violation of teachers’ constitutional rights.

 

 

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