Montana judge rejects union complaint against state legislature

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HELENA, Mont. – The Montana teachers union lost an unfair labor complaint against the former governor and state legislature this week.

gavelYesterday, a district judge denied the union’s petition to review an unfair labor practices complaint against former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and the state legislature. The union wanted the judge to overturn a previous ruling against the union by the state Board of Personnel Appeals, Missoulian.com reports.

The Montana teachers union thought it had struck a deal with Schweitzer in 2010 that would have increased teacher pay one percent the first year, and three percent the following three years, but the negotiated agreement required legislative approval during the 2011 session.

Lawmakers voted down the deal. Legislators instead froze base pay for most state workers for four years, the news site reports.

The teachers union filed an unfair labor complaint against the governor and the legislature shortly after lawmakers denied the pay hikes, claiming the two branches of government didn’t bargain in good faith.

The Board of Personnel Appeals, after consultation with the Department of Labor and Industry, concluded the legislature is not required to bargain in good faith, and dismissed the complaint.

The union appealed, and the district judge this week reiterated the previous ruling, citing the state constitution as the obvious rationale.

“The separation of powers provision supports this court’s conclusion,” District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock said, according to the Missoulian. “For example, adopting the unions’ position would suggest that the legislature had no say in whether or not to accept an agreement negotiated between the governor and the unions. Certainly, that cannot be the case.”

 

By Victor Skinner at 
EAGnews.org

 

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