Branson Firefighters Unionize

Last week, Branson firefighters voted 17-7 in favor of unionizing. After the State Board of Mediation finalizes the results, the union is expected to begin negotiating with the city in the hopes of winning an agreement that will set fire department policies, such as compensation and work rules.

The Value of Union Elections

Today, many government workers are practically “married for life” to the union representing them in their professional fields. For a variety of reasons, decertification elections—the elections that allow workers to fire a union or hire a new one—are notoriously hard to come by, and that bias toward the status quo can be a serious problem for workers when an incumbent union fails to do its job well.

Union President Agrees That Union Elections Lead to Greater Accountability

Bradley Harmon, president of CWA Local 6355—a union representing state government employees—recently testified before a legislative committee against a union election bill. Although he was there to offer his opposition to the bill, he ended up admitting that the elections he opposes actually make unions more accountable to the workers they represent. See the clip, recorded by Progress Missouri, above.

Courts Should Avoid Setting Policy in Columbia Schools

The Columbia Public School District (CPS) and the union representing teachers in the district, the Columbia Missouri National Education Association (CMNEA), are embroiled in a labor dispute. The union wants a labor agreement with a pay increase for its members, while the district, in a tight place financially, wants to keep costs down. Unfortunately, because of recent court decisions, the courts might get involved here, substituting their judgment for that of the negotiators.

The Basics of Government Union Reform

Missouri law pertaining to government collective bargaining contains serious inadequacies. The law is part the product of individual court cases, part 50-year-old statute, part long-standing practice, and fails to adequately protect the rights of both citizens and workers. The picture below presents the basic reforms that would help restore accountability.

Study Slams Missouri for Lack of Transparency Regarding Release Time

It’s no secret that public agencies in Missouri routinely allow for “release time,” which is paid time off from official duties to allow a government employee to perform union business. However, a recent study by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) found that Missouri public agencies often fail to track or disclose release time records, making the amount of release time actually used in Missouri impossible to calculate.

Bill Would Give Workers a Vote

Imagine you could vote for the president only one time, and then you were stuck with the results until he or she were impeached. This wouldn’t be very democratic would it? For many of our government employees, including teachers and firefighters, this is the sort of democracy used to determine whether workers are unionized.

Teachers' Union Gets Collective Bargaining Wrong

Last week someone forwarded me this pamphlet from the Missouri National Education Association (MNEA) on collective bargaining for teachers. It’s a well-put-together brochure that explains the MNEA’s position on a pretty complicated issue. While I applaud the union for producing a primer on an area of public policy I think most people do not know a whole lot about, I take issue with a few of the points they make.

Finding Balance Through Transparency

One of the biggest issues in public policy today has to do with the collective bargaining agreements, or CBAs, that are negotiated between some government unions and the government entities that employ union labor. These agreements can have huge implications for our communities’ future budgets and, ultimately, our tax levels.

How to Ensure Springfield Teachers' Voices Are Heard

In many school districts, teachers are left out of the collective bargaining process simply because they do not belong to the right teachers association. Recertification elections can give these teachers a voice by requiring an association that acts as the exclusive representative to periodically run for reelection in order to maintain this privileged status.