Cities must collectively bargain with the police

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled on Nov. 20, 2012 (Eastern Mo. Coalition of Police (“FOP”) v. City of Chesterfield, No. SC91736 and FOP v. City of University City, No SC91737) that the right to organize and bargain collectively, contained within article I, section 29 of the Missouri Constitution, imposes an affirmative duty on public employers to collectively bargain (i.e., “meet, confer, and discuss”), regardless if the employee’s profession is exempt from Missouri’s collective bargaining statute §105.500 et seq. The Court further held, however, that the trial courts’ order requiring cities to implement a procedure with certain specified criteria for statutorily exempt employees (i.e. law enforcement employees) was “too broad” because “cities may create their own procedures when necessary, so long as they satisfy the constitutional requirements.” As a result of this ruling, municipalities should consider:

  1. Does your municipality have a collective bargaining process, and if not, it may wish to consider adopting one; and

  2. Does your municipality have a process that enables you to know who you must meet and confer with as the union representative, and if not, similarly, you may wish to consider such a procedure.

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