Missouri Public Workers Win Major Court Ruling on Collective Bargaining Rights

This week, a judge in Missouri agreed with a coalition of unions representing state workers that a bill which passed in 2018 stripping public service workers of collectively bargained protections on the job violated the Missouri Constitution. The lawsuit against Missouri Senate Bill (SB) 1007 was filed with the Cole County Circuit Court by CWA Local 6355, AFSCME Council 61, and SEIU Local 1 in October 2018.

According to CWA Local 6355 President Natashia Pickens, the court's decision this week was a total win for the unions. "We are relieved the court made the right decision for Missouri's public service workers this week. SB 1007 was an attack on our fundamental rights as workers to organize and bargain collectively. This joint effort by multiple unions shows that when we fight, we win," said Pickens.

The judge found that the state bargained in bad faith when it stopped processing grievances and refused to bargain over cause for discipline, seniority for layoffs, and grievance-arbitration in collective agreements with the unions. The judge has ordered the state to bargain in good faith without regard to SB 1007 and without unilaterally modifying existing terms, to comply with the CWA and AFSCME collective agreements, and to process grievances under those agreements.

"The collective agreement covering members of CWA Local 6355 will remain in force until a new agreement is reached, and the state must process any grievances filed during the term of the agreement," said Pickens. "We look forward to negotiating a fair agreement with the state that recognizes the essential work that our members do every day. It's about time."