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Thursday, April 24, 2008


With only one vote the spare, the House of Representatives passed legislation to create a legal framework for labor negotiations between public school districts and teachers. The bill, HB 2059, passed 83-67, with one more “yes” vote than the minimum 82 needed to send the measure to the Senate.

The bill was prompted by a 2007 Missouri Supreme Court decision that found the state constitution guarantees government workers, including teachers, the right to collectively bargain with their employer. The decision struck down a 1947 ruling in which the court invented an exemption from bargaining rights for government workers despite the fact that no such exemption exists in the constitutional text.

Opponents of the bill say it would mostly preserve the status quo and not provide true collective bargaining as required by the Missouri Constitution, thus guaranteeing a lawsuit. Supporters say the measure establishes a reasonable system for negotiations that protects the interests of all teachers, not just the majority who votes to be represented by a particular organization.

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