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Judge rules for Columbia teacher union, orders renewed negotiation

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A Boone County judge ordered Columbia Public Schools and an educators union back to the negotiating table after talks fell apart in April.

Judge Jodie Asel's preliminary injunction keeps the Columbia Missouri National Educators Association on as the collective bargaining unit for CPS teachers, and called the two sides back into bargaining. 

CMNEA sued the district when the CPS team said it reached an "impasse" over a prerequisite for collective bargaining. The district wanted CMNEA to go through a new state requirement in which the State Board of Mediation certifies unions as collective bargaining units. CMNEA opposed the condition after a St. Louis County judge stopped the state board from performing those certifications in March over constitutional concerns.

The current CBA expires on Sunday.

Asel wrote that the St. Louis decision left CMNEA in "an untenable 'Catch-22.'" It could not get certification from the state while CPS demanded it as a condition of bargaining. 

"The Court finds that CMNEA has demonstrated irreparable harm, and that the harm to the employees it represents outweighs the harm to the District and to the public if this Court were to deny a preliminary injunction," Asel wrote.

A new bargaining session date has not yet been set.

The district argued that CMNEA had time to get certification prior to the St. Louis County ruling, but chose not to.

Watch an extended interview with Mark Jones, MNEA Political Director, below:

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