LIMITATIONS ON LABOR AGREEMENTS DEEMED UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Boyd Kenter Thomas & Parrish successfully represented two 911 dispatchers with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office to challenge a Missouri law which would cause them to lose their jobs if they peacefully picketed.
As members of the CWA Local 6360, the dispatchers were part of the team preparing to collectively bargain for a new contract. Because public sector bargaining unit members cannot lawfully strike, one of the few tools they had remaining was to inform the public in a non-disruptive manner of the merits of what they were seeking in contract negotiations.
The offending law 101.585(2) R.S.Mo. provided: “Every labor agreement shall expressly prohibit all strikes and picketing of any kind. A strike shall include any refusal to perform services, walkout, sick-out, sit-in, or any other form of interference with the operations of any public body. Every labor agreement shall include a provision acknowledging that any public employee who engages in any strike or concerted refusal to work, or who pickets over any personnel matter, shall be subject to immediate termination of employment.”
This law has many other harsh provisions designed to force our public employees to choose whether to collectively bargain by freely associating with labor organizations and give up the right to free speech; or to not join a union in order to retain their right to speak.
Boyd Kenter Thomas & Parrish secured an injunction barring the Sheriff from firing the dispatchers for picketing and a Jackson County Circuit Judge held that the portion of the law challenged is unconstitutional.
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