Mo. Supreme Court Expands Public Sector Collective Bargaining
The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that not only must public bodies like school boards and cities collectively bargain with their employee unions, but that bargaining must be done in good faith.
The Court issued two rulings Tuesday - one dealing with unionized teachers at a St. Louis charter school, and the other dealing with police officers in University City and Chesterfield who wanted to unionize.
"Essentially, they're complete victories for the labor side," said Bruce Feldacker, a labor attorney who is an adjunct professor at Saint Louis University law school. "There's no question that governmental employers have a much clearer duty to bargain in good faith to teach and agreement now than was the status before these two rulings."
The ruling in the police officer case overturned 55 years of precedent. In a 5-1 decision, the Court ruled that Article I, Section 29 of the state constitution imposes on public bodies the duty to bargain with its employees with the intent of reaching an agreement. An earlier ruling from 1957 said that Article I, Section 29 means that employers cannot block employees from organizing, but do not have to negotiate with the union.