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Columbia teachers' union seeks injunction against schools

A 2018 state law is at the center of the case

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The union that represents Columbia Public Schools teachers is asking a court to intervene in its negotiations with the district before a lawsuit over collective bargaining is decided.

The Columbia Missouri National Education Association -- a union that has represented the approximately 1,400 full-time teachers working at CPS -- filed a motion Friday seeking a preliminary injunction against CPS. The motion asks a Boone County judge to prevent the district from "engaging in bad-faith bargaining" by requiring the union to hold a certification election before reaching a labor agreement.

CMNEA argues in its motion that it cannot hold such an election because a judge in St. Louis County issued an order last month temporarily preventing the State Board of Mediation from conducting such elections.

The union filed the lawsuit in April, saying it could not meet a condition CPS required to collectively bargain with CMNEA. CPS insisted CMNEA hold a certification election with the State Board of Mediation, but such an election cannot be carried out because a St. Louis County judge put the requirement on temporary hold, the union argued in its suit.

The union filed its motion seeking the preliminary injunction a day after CPS lawyers filed a motion to have the case thrown out entirely. In its motion to dismiss the case, CPS argues the St. Louis County restraining order only applies to the parties involved in that suit and not to CPS. 

In the motion CPS says entering into a collective bargaining agreement with CMNEA would violate state law because the union hasn't held the election specified in the 2018 law.

No hearing dates have been set in the case.

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