JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Missouri Corrections Officers Association filed a lawsuit in the Cole County Circuit Court on Tuesday against the Missouri Department of Corrections, the Missouri Office of administration and DOC Director Anne Precythe.
The lawsuit claims that the DOC stopped allowing the association to access basic training classes or to speak with new bargaining employees.
The lawsuit also claims that the DOC and Precythe continue to allow other outside organizations such as AFLAC and the University of Phoenix to speak and sell products to new employees represented by the union. The association says the move is "discriminatory, arbitrary and unconstitutional," according to the court documents.
The association works to bargain terms of employment for Missouri corrections officers. Officers can pay dues and join the association. The association also typically attends basic training, which typically happens three times per month, according to the lawsuit. There are currently 3,300 employees in the DOC in bargaining unit positions, the lawsuit said.
The most recent agreement between the association and the DOC expired in September, and the parties are still in talks about a new agreement, the lawsuit said.
The association claims that the DOC contacted them in May to say the association was being removed from the schedule for basic training and would not be given access to new bargaining unit employees because the most recent agreement had expired, according to the lawsuit.
However, the association had been attending the basic training for months after the agreement expired and was scheduled to attend trainings through the end of 2019, the lawsuit said.
The association is asking the court to restore access for the association to speak at basic training, to enter a judgment stating the denial of access was violating the Missouri Constitution, to enter an injunction preventing the DOC from denying access and to award the association any costs incurred.
ABC 17 News reached out to the DOC for comment, and spokeswoman Karen Pojmann said the department cannot comment on ongoing litigation.