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Joplin School Board schedules March 25 election to determine tea - KOAM TV 7

Joplin School Board schedules March 25 election to determine teacher union representation

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Tonight, the Joplin School Board has finalized an election date to determine whether teachers within the district will be represented exclusively by one union for collective bargaining. 

In a unanimous vote, the Joplin School Board set Wednesday, March 25 as the election date to determine how district teachers will be represented into the future.

Two organizations, the Joplin chapter of the National Education Association and the Missouri State Teachers Association, both currently meet with the district on an informal basis.

The election aims to formalize those discussions.

"In other words, people can give their opinions, but at this point there is no process in which teachers can be part of the decision making," said William Keczkemethy, vice president of Joplin NEA.

"I don't see us changing our past practices related to how we communicate, we're just waiting to see how this plays out, so we know which direction to go in as a district in supporting the work of our teachers," said CJ Huff, superintendent of Joplin Schools.

At the beginning of the year, NEA requested exclusive representation of the teaching staff, and last week MSTA requested the same. 

"Really it's about whether the teaching staff wants to have one organization representing all teachers, or do they want both organizations representing all teachers, or do they want to just move forward with the past practices, what we've always done, without a formalized agreement," Huff said.

If single, exclusive representation wins the vote, a second election will be held at a later date not yet scheduled, to elect which union represents district teachers.

"Anytime you have too many people at the table, it's hard to come to a consensus," Keczkemethy said.

Huff says no matter how the election turns out, the district will continue to ensure teacher voices are heard.

"We are looking forward to getting that vote taken here in a few weeks and see where things are, so we can start moving forward," Huff said.

District officials say two-fifths of district teachers are currently represented by NEA, another two-fifths are represented by MSTA, and the remaining one-fifth of teachers do not have union representation.
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