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Collective Bargaining Attained: Teachers Now Vote on Representation

On Tuesday, November 10th, teachers and faculty from Springfield Public Schools voted to be represented by a group for the purposes of collective bargaining. Now, another election will take place for faculty to vote on who will represent them. KSMU’s Adam Hammons has more on the two organizations that are competing for the right to represent Springfield’s school faculty.

Teachers from all over Springfield came out to vote this past Tuesday to decide if they would like single, multiple, or no representation for collective bargaining. Over 60 percent voted to have one group represent their collective voice.

The Springfield National Education Association, or SNEA, was pleased with the outcome. The organization has campaigned for collective bargaining for close to two years now.

They are now up against the Missouri State Teacher’s Association, or MSTA, for the right to represent the Springfield Public School’s teachers in the event that a dispute arises. Ray Smith, the president of the SNEA, talks about how the competition won’t be an issue.

“I don’t feel like we’re emphasizing a campaign against MSTA, we’re campaigning for collective bargaining.”

Both the SNEA and the MSTA want to be the representative for Springfield’s teachers, but they also have a common priority of collective bargaining. Glenda Thurlkill is the president of the Springfield MSTA.

“We believe that it’s important that everybody, every organization, every teacher that is a part of that bargaining unit has an opportunity to have a voice at the collective bargaining table.”

The election on Tuesday was held in five different high schools around town. Ransom Ellis, the attorney representing Springfield Public Schools, talks about the turnout for the election.

“In my opinion they had ample opportunity, probably even more than ample opportunity to cast a vote. If they chose not to, that’s their decision.”

The turnout was 55 percent of the teachers.

The next election will have to be after the results of Tuesday’s election are certified, which Ellis said could be during the District’s December board meeting.

For KSMU News, I’m Adam Hammons.